Two-photon imaging of blood flow in the rat cortex

Jonathan D. Driscoll, Andy Y. Shih, Patrick J. Drew, Gert Cauwenberghs, David Kleinfeld

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Cerebral blood flow plays a central role in maintaining homeostasis in the brain, and its dysfunction leads to pathological conditions such as stroke. Moreover, understanding the dynamics of blood flow is central to the interpretation of data from imaging modalities-such as intrinsic optical signaling and functional magnetic resonance imaging-that rely on changes in cerebral blood flow and oxygen level to infer changes in the underlying neural activity. Recent advances in imaging techniques have allowed detailed studies of blood flow in vivo at high spatial and temporal resolutions. We discuss techniques to accurately measure cerebral blood flow at the level of individual blood vessels using two-photon laserscanning microscopy. By directing the scanning laser along a user-defined path, it is possible to measure red blood cell (RBC) velocity and vessel diameter across multiple vessels simultaneously. The combination of these measurements permits accurate assessment of total flux with sufficient time resolution to measure fast modulations in flux, such as those caused by heartbeat, as well as slower signals caused by vasomotion and hemodynamic responses to stimulus. Here, we discuss general techniques for animal preparation and measurement of blood flow with two-photon microscopy. We incorporate extensions to existing methods to accurately acquire flux data simultaneously across multiple vessels in a single trial. Central to these measurements is the ability to generate scan paths that smoothly connect user-defined lines of interest while maintaining high accuracy of the scan path.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)759-767
Number of pages9
JournalCold Spring Harbor Protocols
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology


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