Purpose: In vivo imaging of the pulmonary vasculature in small animals is difficult yet highly desirable in order to allow study of the effects of a host of dynamic biological processes such as hypoxic pulmonary vasoconstriction. Here the authors present an approach for the quantification of changes in the vasculature. Methods: A contrast free angiography technique is validated in silico through the use of computergenerated images and in vivo through microcomputed tomography (μCT) of live mice conducted using a laboratory-based x-ray source. Subsequent image processing on μCT data allowed for the quantification of the caliber of pulmonary vasculature without the need for external contrast agents. These measures were validated by comparing with quantitative contrast microangiography in the same mice. Results: Quantification of arterial diameters from the method proposed in this study is validated against laboratory-based x-ray contrast microangiography. The authors find that there is a high degree of correlation (R = 0.91) between measures from microangiography and their contrast free method. Conclusions: A technique for quantification of murine pulmonary vasculature without the need for contrast is presented. As such, this technique could be applied for longitudinal studies of animals to study changes to vasculature without the risk of premature death in sensitive mouse models of disease. This approach may also be of value in the clinical setting.
- Pulmonary vasculature
- Contrast free