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Pulm Circ. 2019 Oct 31;9(4):2045894019883613. doi: 10.1177/2045894019883613. eCollection 2019 Oct-Dec.

Optimizing imaging of the rat pulmonary microvasculature by micro-computed tomography.

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Regenerative Medicine Program, Ottawa Hospital Research Institute, Ottawa, Canada.
Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Canada.
Division of Cardiology, Department of Medicine, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Canada.


Micro-computed tomography (micro-CT) is used in pre-clinical research to generate high-resolution three-dimensional (3D) images of organs and tissues. When combined with intravascular contrast agents, micro-CT can provide 3D visualization and quantification of vascular networks in many different organs. However, the lungs present a particular challenge for contrast perfusion due to the complexity and fragile nature of the lung microcirculation. The protocol described here has been optimized to achieve consistent lung perfusion of the microvasculature to vessels < 20 microns in both normal and pulmonary arterial hypertension rats. High-resolution 3D micro-CT imaging can be used to better visualize changes in 3D architecture of the lung microcirculation in pulmonary vascular disease and to assess the impact of therapeutic strategies on microvascular structure in animal models of pulmonary arterial hypertension.


method; micro-CT; perfusion; pulmonary arterial hypertension; vasculature

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