Real-time whole-brain imaging of hemodynamics and oxygenation at micro-vessel resolution with ultrafast wide-field photoacoustic microscopy

Xiaoyi Zhu, Qiang Huang, Anthony DiSpirito, Tri Vu, Qiangzhou Rong, Xiaorui Peng, Huaxin Sheng, Xiling Shen, Qifa Zhou, Laiming Jiang, Ulrike Hoffmann, Junjie Yao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


High-speed high-resolution imaging of the whole-brain hemodynamics is critically important to facilitating neurovascular research. High imaging speed and image quality are crucial to visualizing real-time hemodynamics in complex brain vascular networks, and tracking fast pathophysiological activities at the microvessel level, which will enable advances in current queries in neurovascular and brain metabolism research, including stroke, dementia, and acute brain injury. Further, real-time imaging of oxygen saturation of hemoglobin (sO2) can capture fast-paced oxygen delivery dynamics, which is needed to solve pertinent questions in these fields and beyond. Here, we present a novel ultrafast functional photoacoustic microscopy (UFF-PAM) to image the whole-brain hemodynamics and oxygenation. UFF-PAM takes advantage of several key engineering innovations, including stimulated Raman scattering (SRS) based dual-wavelength laser excitation, water-immersible 12-facet-polygon scanner, high-sensitivity ultrasound transducer, and deep-learning-based image upsampling. A volumetric imaging rate of 2 Hz has been achieved over a field of view (FOV) of 11 × 7.5 × 1.5 mm3 with a high spatial resolution of ~10 μm. Using the UFF-PAM system, we have demonstrated proof-of-concept studies on the mouse brains in response to systemic hypoxia, sodium nitroprusside, and stroke. We observed the mouse brain’s fast morphological and functional changes over the entire cortex, including vasoconstriction, vasodilation, and deoxygenation. More interestingly, for the first time, with the whole-brain FOV and micro-vessel resolution, we captured the vasoconstriction and hypoxia simultaneously in the spreading depolarization (SD) wave. We expect the new imaging technology will provide a great potential for fundamental brain research under various pathological and physiological conditions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number138
JournalLight: Science and Applications
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2022
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics


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