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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1997 Apr 29;94(9):4256-61.

Noninvasive assessment of the developing Xenopus cardiovascular system using optical coherence tomography.

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  • 1Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, Research Laboratory of Electronics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA.


Studies investigating normal and abnormal cardiac development are frequently limited by an inability to assess cardiovascular function within the intact organism. In this work, optical coherence tomography (OCT), a new method of micron-scale, noninvasive imaging based on the measurement of backscattered infrared light, was introduced for the high resolution assessment of structure and function in the developing Xenopus laevis cardiovascular system. Microstructural details, such as ventricular size and wall positions, were delineated with OCT at 16-microm resolution and correlated with histology. Three-dimensional representation of the cardiovascular system also was achieved by repeated cross-sectional imaging at intervals of 25 microm. In addition to structural information, OCT provides high speed in vivo axial ranging and imaging, allowing quantitative dynamic activity, such as ventricular ejection fraction, to be assessed. The sensitivity of OCT for dynamic assessment was demonstrated with an inotropic agent that altered cardiac function and dimensions. Optical coherence tomography is an attractive new technology for assessing cardiovascular development because of its high resolution, its ability to image through nontransparent structures, and its inexpensive portable design. In vivo and in vitro imaging are performed at a resolution approaching that of histopathology without the need for animal killing.

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