Matthew J Farrar, Ida M Bernstein, Donald H Schlafer, Thomas A Cleland, Joseph R Fetcho, and Chris B Schaffer
Nature Methods (2012)
Understanding and treatment of spinal cord pathology is limited in part by a lack of time-lapse in vivo imaging strategies at the cellular level. We developed a chronically implanted spinal chamber and surgical procedure suitable for time-lapse in vivo multiphoton microscopy of mouse spinal cord without the need for repeat surgical procedures. We routinely imaged mice repeatedly for more than 5 weeks postoperatively with up to ten separate imaging sessions and observed neither motor-function deficit nor neuropathology in the spinal cord as a result of chamber implantation. using this chamber we quantified microglia and afferent axon dynamics after a laser-induced spinal cord lesion and observed massive microglia infiltration within d along with a heterogeneous dieback of axon stumps. By enabling chronic imaging studies over timescales ranging from minutes to months, our method offers an ideal platform for understanding cellular dynamics in response to injury and therapeutic interventions.
Russell A. Gould, Karen Chin, Thom P. Santisakultarm, Amanda Dropkin, Jennifer M. Richards, Chris B. Schaffer, Jonathan T. Butcher
Acta Biomaterialia (2012)
Many planar connective tissues exhibit complex anisotropic matrix fiber arrangements that are critical to their biomechanical function. This organized structure is created and modified by resident fibroblasts in response to mechanical forces in their environment. The directionality of applied strain fields changes dramatically during development, aging, and disease, but the specific effect of strain direction on matrix remodeling is less clear. Current mechanobiological inquiry of planar tissues is limited to equibiaxial or uniaxial stretch, which inadequately simulates many in vivo environments. In this study, we implement a novel bioreactor system to demonstrate the unique effect of controlled anisotropic strain on fibroblast behavior in three-dimensional (3-D) engineered tissue environments, using aortic valve interstitial fibro- blast cells as a model system. Cell seeded 3-D collagen hydrogels were subjected to cyclic anisotropic strain profiles maintained at constant areal strain magnitude for up to 96 h at 1 Hz. Increasing anisotropy of biaxial strain resulted in increased cellular orientation and collagen fiber alignment along the principal directions of strain and cell orientation was found to precede fiber reorganization. Cellular proliferation and apoptosis were both significantly enhanced under increasing biaxial strain anisotropy (P < 0.05). While cyclic strain reduced both vimentin and alpha-smooth muscle actin compared to unstrained con- trols, vimentin and alpha-smooth muscle actin expression increased with strain anisotropy and corre- lated with direction (P < 0.05). Collectively, these results suggest that strain field anisotropy is an independent regulator of fibroblast cell phenotype, turnover, and matrix reorganization, which may inform normal and pathological remodeling in soft tissues.
Thom P. Santisakultarm, Nathan R. Cornelius, Nozomi Nishimura, Andrew I. Schafer, Richard T. Silver, Peter C. Doerschuk, William L. Olbricht and Chris B. Schaffer
American Journal of Physiology Heart and Circulatory Physiology (2012)
Subtle alterations in cerebral blood flow can impact the health and function of brain cells and are linked to cognitive decline and dementia. To understand hemodynamics in the three-dimensional vascular network of the cerebral cortex, we applied two-photon excited fluorescence microscopy to measure the motion of red blood cells (RBCs) in individual microvessels throughout the vascular hierarchy in anesthetized mice. To resolve heartbeat- and respiration- dependent flow dynamics, we simultaneously recorded the electrocar- diogram and respiratory waveform. We found that centerline RBC speed decreased with decreasing vessel diameter in arterioles, slowed further through the capillary bed, and then increased with increasing vessel diameter in venules. RBC flow was pulsatile in nearly all cortical vessels, including capillaries and venules. Heartbeat-induced speed modulation decreased through the vascular network, while the delay between heartbeat and the time of maximum speed increased. Capillary tube hematocrit was 0.21 and did not vary with centerline RBC speed or topological position. Spatial RBC flow profiles in surface vessels were blunted compared with a parabola and could be measured at vascular junctions. Finally, we observed a transient decrease in RBC speed in surface vessels before inspiration. In conclusion, we developed an approach to study detailed characteris- tics of RBC flow in the three-dimensional cortical vasculature, includ- ing quantification of fluctuations in centerline RBC speed due to cardiac and respiratory rhythms and flow profile measurements. These methods and the quantitative data on basal cerebral hemodynamics open the door to studies of the normal and diseased-state cerebral microcirculation.
Tyson N. Kim, Patrick W. Goodwill, Yeni Chen, Steven M. Conolly, Chris B. Schaffer, Dorian Liepmann, Rong A. Wang
Public Library of Science ONE 7, e38590 (2012)
Background: The ability to measure blood velocities is critical for studying vascular development, physiology, and pathology. A key challenge is to quantify a wide range of blood velocities in vessels deep within living specimens with concurrent diffraction-limited resolution imaging of vascular cells. Two-photon laser scanning microscopy (TPLSM) has shown tremendous promise in analyzing blood velocities hundreds of micrometers deep in animals with cellular resolution. However, current analysis of TPLSM-based data is limited to the lower range of blood velocities and is not adequate to study faster velocities in many normal or disease conditions. Methodology/Principal Findings: We developed line-scanning particle image velocimetry (LS-PIV), which used TPLSM data to quantify peak blood velocities up to 84 mm/s in live mice harboring brain arteriovenous malformation, a disease characterized by high flow. With this method, we were able to accurately detect the elevated blood velocities and exaggerated pulsatility along the abnormal vascular network in these animals. LS-PIV robustly analyzed noisy data from vessels as deep as 850 mm below the brain surface. In addition to analyzing in vivo data, we validated the accuracy of LS-PIV up to 800 mm/s using simulations with known velocity and noise parameters. Conclusions/Significance: To our knowledge, these blood velocity measurements are the fastest recorded with TPLSM. Partnered with transgenic mice carrying cell-specific fluorescent reporters, LS-PIV will also enable the direct in vivo correlation of cellular, biochemical, and hemodynamic parameters in high flow vascular development and diseases such as atherogenesis, arteriogenesis, and vascular anomalies.
Patrick A. Murphy, Tyson N. Kim, Gloria Lu, Andrew W. Bollen, Chris B. Schaffer, Rong A. Wang
Science Translational Medicine (2012)
Abnormally enlarged blood vessels underlie many life-threatening disorders including arteriovenous (AV) malformations (AVMs). The core defect in AVMs is high-flow AV shunts, which connect arteries directly to veins, “stealing” blood from capillaries. Here, we studied mouse brain AV shunts caused by up-regulation of Notch signaling in endothelial cells (ECs) through transgenic expression of constitutively active Notch4 (Notch4*). Using four-dimensional two-photon imaging through a cranial window, we found that normalizing Notch signaling by repressing Notch4* expression converted large-caliber, high-flow AV shunts to capillary-like vessels. The structural regression of the high-flow AV shunts returned blood to capillaries, thus reversing tissue hypoxia. This regression was initiated by vessel narrowing without the loss of ECs and required restoration of EphB4 receptor expression by venous ECs. Normalization of Notch signaling resulting in regression of high-flow AV shunts, and a return to normal blood flow suggests that targeting the Notch pathway may be useful therapeutically for treating diseases such as AVMs.
Conor P. Foley, Nozomi Nishimura, Keith B. Neeves, Chris B. Schaffer, and William L. Olbricht
Annals of Biomedical Engineering (2012)
Convection-enhanced delivery (CED) is a promising technique for administering large therapeutics that do not readily cross the blood brain barrier to neural tissue. It is of vital importance to understand how large drug constructs move through neural tissue during CED to optimize construct and delivery parameters so that drugs are concentrated in the targeted tissue, with minimal leakage outside the targeted zone. Experiments have shown that liposomes, viral vectors, high molecular weight tracers, and nanoparticles infused into neural tissue localize in the perivascular spaces of blood vessels within the brain parenchyma. In this work, we used two-photon excited fluorescence microscopy to monitor the real-time distribution of nanoparticles infused in the cortex of live, anesthetized rats via CED. Fluorescent nanoparticles of 24 and 100 nm nominal diameters were infused into rat cortex through microfluidic probes. We found that perivascular spaces provide a high permeability path for rapid convective transport of large nanoparticles through tissue, and that the effects of perivascular spaces on transport are more significant for larger particles that undergo hindered transport through the extracellular matrix. This suggests that the vascular topology of the target tissue volume must be considered when delivering large therapeutic constructs via CED.
Andy Y Shih, Jonathan D Driscoll, Patrick J Drew, Nozomi Nishimura, Chris B Schaffer, and David Kleinfeld
Journal of Cerebral Blood Flow and Metabolism 32, 1277 (2012)
The cerebral vascular system services the constant demand for energy during neuronal activity in the brain. Attempts to delineate the logic of neurovascular coupling have been greatly aided by the advent of two-photon laser scanning microscopy to image both blood flow and the activity of individual cells below the surface of the brain. Here we provide a technical guide to imaging cerebral blood flow in rodents. We describe in detail the surgical procedures required to generate cranial windows for optical access to the cortex of both rats and mice and the use of two-photon microscopy to accurately measure blood flow in individual cortical vessels concurrent with local cellular activity. We further provide examples on how these techniques can be applied to the study of local blood flow regulation and vascular pathologies such as small-scale stroke.