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Neurological and Inflammatory Effects of Radio Frequency and Cryoablation in a Rat Sciatic Nerve Model of Submucosal Nerve Ablation

Kawasi Lett, Yuying Zhang, Nozomi Nishimura

American Journal of Rhinology & Allergy (2022)

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Background: Minimally-invasive ablation with radio frequency (RF) and cryoablation have been widely adopted to treat conditions with aberrant neural activity such as excessive mucus production in rhinitis, but neurological and inflammatory effects on treated tissues are poorly understood. Objective: To gain an understanding of the physiological changes caused by nerve ablation using RF and cryoablation devices. Methods: Using clinical devices for rhinitis treatment that ablate nerves with access from the nasal cavity, we applied temperature-controlled RF and cryoablation to rat sciatic nerves. To model the ablation through mucosal tissue similarly to the rhinitis procedure, RF ablation and cryoablation were applied through a layer of muscle. Results: Both ablation techniques induced acute and sustained neurodegeneration visualized with histological sections at two days and one month after treatment. After both treatments, rats showed a change in muscle tone, but small increases in sensitivity measured by a von Frey test were only observed 2 days after cryoablation and one month after the RF ablation. Both treatments caused reductions in nerve conduction velocity at one month after treatment. Inflammation in treated nerves and surrounding tissues that persisted to one month. Conclusions: The two neurolytic devices used in the clinic work similarly by axonal disintegration and which leads to disruption of electrical signals. The data suggest that these methods are effective methods of nerve ablation that could be used to treat diseases related to elevated neuron activity such as rhinitis.

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Genetically engineered mice for combinatorial cardiovascular optobiology

Frank K Lee, Jane C Lee, Bo Shui, Shaun Reining, Megan Jibilian, David M Small, Jason S Jones, Nathaniel H Allan-Rahill, Michael RE Lamont, Megan A Rizzo, Sendoa Tajada, Manuel F Navedo, Luis Fernando Santana, Nozomi Nishimura, Michael I Kotlikoff

eLife (2021)

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Optogenetic effectors and sensors provide a novel real-time window into complex physiological processes, enabling determination of molecular signaling processes within functioning cellular networks. However, the combination of these optical tools in mice is made practical by construction of genetic lines that are optically compatible and genetically tractable. We present a new toolbox of 21 mouse lines with lineage-specific expression of optogenetic effectors and sensors for direct biallelic combination, avoiding the multiallelic requirement of Cre recombinase-mediated DNA recombination, focusing on models relevant for cardiovascular biology. Optogenetic effectors (11 lines) or Ca2+ sensors (10 lines) were selectively expressed in cardiac pacemaker cells, cardiomyocytes, vascular endothelial and smooth muscle cells, alveolar epithelial cells, lymphocytes, glia, and other cell types. Optogenetic effector and sensor function was demonstrated in numerous tissues. Arterial/arteriolar tone was modulated by optical activation of the second messengers InsP3 (optoa1AR) and cAMP (optoB2AR), or Ca2+-permeant membrane channels (CatCh2) in smooth muscle (Acta2) and endothelium (Cdh5). Cardiac activation was separately controlled through activation of nodal/conducting cells or cardiac myocytes. We demonstrate combined effector and sensor function in biallelic mouse crosses: optical cardiac pacing and simultaneous cardiomyocyte Ca2+ imaging in Hcn4BAC-CatCh2/Myh6-GCaMP8 crosses. These experiments highlight the potential of these mice to explore cellular signaling in vivo, in complex tissue networks.

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Intravital Microscopy of the Beating Murine Heart to Understand Cardiac Leukocyte Dynamics

Nathaniel H. Allan-Rahill, Michael R. E. Lamont, William M. Chilian, Nozomi Nishimura and David M. Small

Frontiers in Immunology (2020)

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Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of worldwide mortality. Intravital microscopy has provided unprecedented insight into leukocyte biology by enabling the visualization of dynamic responses within living organ systems at the cell-scale. The heart presents a uniquely dynamic microenvironment driven by periodic, synchronous electrical conduction leading to rhythmic contractions of cardiomyocytes, and phasic coronary blood flow. In addition to functions shared throughout the body, immune cells have specific functions in the heart including tissue-resident macrophage-facilitated electrical conduction and rapid monocyte infiltration upon injury. Leukocyte responses to cardiac pathologies, including myocardial infarction and heart failure, have been well-studied using standard techniques, however, certain questions related to spatiotemporal relationships remain unanswered. Intravital imaging techniques could greatly benefit our understanding of the complexities of in vivo leukocyte behavior within cardiac tissue, but these techniques have been challenging to apply. Different approaches have been developed including high frame rate imaging of the beating heart, explantation models, micro-endoscopy, and mechanical stabilization coupled with various acquisition schemes to overcome challenges specific to the heart. The field of cardiac science has only begun to benefit from intravital microscopy techniques. The current focused review presents an overview of leukocyte responses in the heart, recent developments in intravital microscopy for the murine heart, and a discussion of future developments and applications for cardiovascular immunology.

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Computed optical coherence microscopy of mouse brain ex vivo

Meiqi Wu, David M. Small, Nozomi Nishimura, Steven G. Adie

Journal of Biomedical Optics (2019)

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The compromise between lateral resolution and usable imaging depth range is a bottleneck for optical coherence tomography (OCT). Existing solutions for optical coherence microscopy (OCM) suffer from either large data size and long acquisition time or a nonideal point spread function. We present volumetric OCM of mouse brain ex vivo with a large depth coverage by leveraging computational adaptive optics (CAO) to significantly reduce the number of OCM volumes that need to be acquired with a Gaussian beam focused at different depths. We demonstrate volumetric reconstruction of ex-vivo mouse brain with lateral resolution of 2.2  μm, axial resolution of 4.7  μm, and depth range of ∼1.2  mm optical path length, using only 11 OCT data volumes acquired on a spectral-domain OCM system. Compared to focus scanning with step size equal to the Rayleigh length of the beam, this is a factor of 4 fewer datasets required for volumetric imaging. Coregistered two-photon microscopy confirmed that CAO-OCM reconstructions can visualize various tissue microstructures in the brain. Our results also highlight the limitations of CAO in highly scattering media, particularly when attempting to reconstruct far from the focal plane or when imaging deep within the sample.

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Microvessel occlusions alter amyloid-beta plaque morphology in a mouse model of Alzheimer's disease

Yuying Zhang, Evan D Bander, Yurim Lee, Celia Muoser, Chris B Schaffer and Nozomi Nishimura

Journal of Cerebral Blood flow and Metabolism (2019)

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Vascular dysfunction is correlated to the incidence and severity of Alzheimer’s disease. In a mouse model of Alzheimer’s disease (APP/PS1) using in vivo, time-lapse, multiphoton microscopy, we found that occlusions of the microvasculature alter amyloid-beta (Ab) plaques. We used several models of vascular injury that varied in severity. Femtosecond laser induced occlusions in single capillaries generated a transient increase in small, cell-sized, Ab deposits visualized with methoxy-X04, a label of fibrillar Ab. After occlusions of penetrating arterioles, some plaques changed morphology, while others disappeared, and some new plaques appeared within a week after the lesion. Antibody labeling of Ab revealed a transient increase in non-fibrillar Ab one day after the occlusion that coincided with the disappearance of methoxy-X04- labeled plaques. Four days after the lesion, anti-Ab labeling decreased and only remained in patches unlabeled by methoxy-X04 near microglia. Histology in two additional models, sparse embolic occlusions from intracarotid injections of beads and infarction from photothrombosis, demonstrated increased labeling intensity in plaques after injury. These results suggest that microvascular lesions can alter the deposition and clearance of Ab and confirm that Ab plaques are dynamic structures, complicating the interpretation of plaque burden as a marker of Alzheimer’s disease progression

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In Vivo Calcium Imaging of Cardiomyocytes in the Beating Mouse Heart With Multiphoton Microscopy

Jason S. Jones, David M. Small and Nozomi Nishimura

Frontiers in physiology (2018)

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Background: Understanding the microscopic dynamics of the beating heart has been challenging due to the technical nature of imaging with micrometer resolution while the heart moves. The development of multiphoton microscopy has made in vivo, cell-resolved measurements of calcium dynamics and vascular function possible in motionless organs such as the brain. In heart, however, studies of in vivo interactions between cells and the native microenvironment are behind other organ systems. Our goal was to develop methods for intravital imaging of cardiac structural and calcium dynamics with microscopic resolution. Methods: Ventilated mice expressing GCaMP6f, a genetically encoded calcium indicator, received a thoracotomy to provide optical access to the heart. Vasculature was labeled with an injection of dextran-labeled dye. The heart was partially stabilized by a titanium probe with a glass window. Images were acquired at 30 frames per second with spontaneous heartbeat and continuously running, ventilated breathing. The data were reconstructed into three-dimensional volumes showing tissue structure, vasculature, and GCaMP6f signal in cardiomyocytes as a function of both the cardiac and respiratory cycle. Results: We demonstrated the capability to simultaneously measure calcium transients, vessel size, and tissue displacement in three dimensions with micrometer resolution. Reconstruction at various combinations of cardiac and respiratory phase enabled measurement of regional and single-cell cardiomyocyte calcium transients (GCaMP6f fluorescence). GCaMP6f fluorescence transients in individual, aberrantly firing cardiomyocytes were also quantified. Comparisons of calcium dynamics (risetime and tau) at varying positions within the ventricle wall showed no significant depth dependence. Conclusion: This method enables studies of coupling between contraction and excitation during physiological blood perfusion and breathing at high spatiotemporal resolution. These capabilities could lead to a new understanding of normal and disease function of cardiac cells.

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Intestinal crypts recover rapidly from focal damage with coordinated motion of stem cells that is impaired by aging

Jiahn Choi, Nikolai Rakhilin, Poornima Gadamsetty, Daniel J. Joe, Tahmineh Tabrizian, Steven M. Lipkin, Derek M. Hu man, Xiling Shen & Nozomi Nishimura

Scientific Reports (2018)

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Despite the continuous renewal and turnover of the small intestinal epithelium, the intestinal crypt maintains a ‘soccer ball-like’, alternating pattern of stem and Paneth cells at the base of the crypt. To study the robustness of the alternating pattern, we used intravital two-photon microscopy in mice with uorescently-labeled Lgr5+ intestinal stem cells and precisely perturbed the mosaic pattern with femtosecond laser ablation. Ablation of one to three cells initiated rapid motion of crypt cells that restored the alternation in the pattern within about two hours with only the rearrangement of pre-existing cells, without any cell division. Crypt cells then performed a coordinated dilation of the crypt lumen, which resulted in peristalsis-like motion that forced damaged cells out of the crypt. Crypt cell motion was reduced with inhibition of the ROCK pathway and attenuated with old age, and both resulted in incomplete pattern recovery. This suggests that in addition to proliferation and self-renewal, motility of stem cells is critical for maintaining homeostasis. Reduction of this newly-identi ed behavior of stem cells could contribute to disease and age-related changes.

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Label-free imaging of atherosclerotic plaques using third-harmonic generation microscopy

David M. Small, Jason S. Jones, Irwin I. Tendler, Paul E. Miller, Andre Ghetti, and Nozomi Nishimura

Biomedical Optics Express (2018)

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Multiphoton microscopy using laser sources in the mid-infrared range (MIR, 1,300 nm and 1,700 nm) was used to image atherosclerotic plaques from murine and human samples. Third harmonic generation (THG) from atherosclerotic plaques revealed morphological details of cellular and extracellular lipid deposits. Simultaneous nonlinear optical signals from the same laser source, including second harmonic generation and endogenous fluorescence, resulted in label-free images of various layers within the diseased vessel wall. The THG signal adds an endogenous contrast mechanism with a practical degree of specificity for atherosclerotic plaques that complements current nonlinear optical methods for the investigation of cardiovascular disease. Our use of whole-mount tissue and backward scattered epi-detection suggests THG could potentially be used in the future as a clinical tool.

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In vivo three-photon imaging of activity of GCaMP6-labeled neurons deep in intact mouse brain

Ouzounov DG, Wang T, Wang M, Feng D, Horton NG, Cruz Hernández JC, Cheng Y, Reimer J, Tolias A, Nishimura N, Xu C

Nature Methods (2017)

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High-resolution optical imaging is critical to understanding brain function. We demonstrate that three-photon microscopy at 1,300-nm excitation enables functional imaging of GCaMP6s-labeled neurons beyond the depth limit of two-photon microscopy. We record spontaneous activity from up to 150 neurons in the hippocampal stratum pyramidale at ~1-mm depth within an intact mouse brain. Our method creates opportunities for noninvasive recording of neuronal activity with high spatial and temporal resolution deep within scattering brain tissues.

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 Supplement 1

Simultaneous Optical and Electrical In Vivo Analysis of the Enteric Nervous System

Rakhilin N, Barth B, Choi J, Munoz N, Kulkarni S, LaVinka C, Dong X, Spencer M, Pasricha P, Nishimura N, Jones J, Small D, Cheng YT, Cao Y, Kan E, Shen X

Nat Commun (2016)

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The enteric nervous system (ENS) is a major division of the nervous system and vital to the gastrointestinal (GI) tract and its communication with the rest of the body. Unlike the brain and spinal cord, relatively little is known about the ENS in part because of the inability to directly monitor its activity in live animals. Here, we integrate a transparent graphene sensor with a customized abdominal window for simultaneous optical and electrical recording of the ENS in vivo. The implanted device captures ENS responses to neurotransmitters, drugs and optogenetic manipulation in real time.

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