Ultra-high Speed Optical Imaging of Ultrasound-activated Microbubbles in Mesenteric Microvessels

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Ultra-high Speed Optical Imaging of Ultrasound-activated Microbubbles in Mesenteric Microvessels

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Title: Ultra-high Speed Optical Imaging of Ultrasound-activated Microbubbles in Mesenteric Microvessels
Author: Chen, Hong
Abstract: Ultrasound contrast agent microbubbles have gained widespread applications in diagnostic and therapeutic ultrasound. Animal studies of bioeffects induced by ultrasound-activated microbubbles have demonstrated that microbubbles can cause microvessel damage. Much scientific attention has been attracted to such microvascular bioeffects, not only because of the related safety concerns, but also because of the potential useful applications of microbubbles in the intravascular delivery of drugs and genetic materials into target tissues. A significant challenge in using microbubbles in medical ultrasound is the lack of knowledge about how the microbubbles behave in blood vessels when exposed to ultrasound and how their interactions with ultrasound cause vascular damage. Although extensive studies were performed in the past to study the dynamics of microbubbles, most of those studies were performed in vitro and did not directly address the clinical environment in which microbubbles are injected into blood vessels. In this thesis work, a synchronized optical-acoustic system was set up for ultra-high speed imaging of insonated microbubbles in microvessels. The recorded images revealed the formation of microjets penetrating the microbubbles, as well as vessel distention (motion outward against the surrounding tissue) and vessel invagination (motion inward toward the lumen) caused by the expansion and collapse of the microbubbles, respectively. Contrary to current paradigms which propose that microbubbles damage vessels either by distending them or by forming liquid jets impinging on them, microbubbles translation and jetting were in the direction away from the nearest vessel wall; furthermore, invagination typically exceeded distention in arterioles and venules. Vessel invagination was found to be associated with vascular damage. These studies suggest that vessel invagination may be a newly discovered potential mechanism for vascular damage by ultrasound-activated microbubbles. The dynamics of bubble-vessel interactions are coupled intimately with the viscoelastic properties of the microvessels. To probe these properties, a method based on the relaxation times of the invaginated microvessels was used to estimate the relaxation time constants of the microvessels. It was found that the time constants were on microsecond time scales, which provided insight into the unique and unknown viscoelastic properties of the microvessels. 
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1773/17094

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