Monitoring cerebral energy metabolism at a cellular level is essential to improve our understanding of healthy brain function and its pathological alterations. In this study, we resolve specific alterations in cerebral metabolism utilizing minimally-invasive 2-Photon fluorescence lifetime imaging (2P-FLIM) measurements of reduced nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NADH) fluorescence, collected in vivo from anesthetized rats and mice. Time-resolved lifetime measurements enables distinction of different components contributing to NADH autofluorescence. These components reportedly represent different enzyme-bound formulations of NADH. Our observations from this study confirm the hypothesis that NADH FLIM can identify specific alterations in cerebral metabolism. Using time-correlated single photon counting (TCSPC) equipment and a custom-built multimodal imaging system, 2-photon fluorescence lifetime imaging (FLIM) was performed in cerebral tissue with high spatial and temporal resolution. Multi-exponential fits for NADH fluorescence lifetimes indicate 4 distinct components, or 'species.' We observed distinct variations in the relative proportions of these components before and after pharmacological-induced impairments to several reactions involved in anaerobic glycolysis and aerobic oxidative metabolism. Classification models developed with experimental data correctly predict the metabolic impairments associated with bicuculline-induced focal seizures in separate experiments. Compared to traditional intensity-based NADH measurements, lifetime imaging of NADH is less susceptible to the adverse effects of overlying blood vessels. Evaluating NADH measurements will ultimately lead to a deeper understanding of cerebral energetics and its pathology-related alterations. Such knowledge will likely aid development of therapeutic strategies for neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's Disease, Parkinson's disease, and stroke.
Mohammad A. Yaseen, Sava Sakadžić, Jason Sutin, Weicheng Wu, Buyin Fu, and David A. Boas, "Alterations in cerebral metabolism observed in living rodents using fluorescence lifetime microscopy of intrinsic NADH (Conference Presentation)," Proc. SPIE 10050, Clinical and Translational Neurophotonics, 100500R (Presented at SPIE BiOS: January 29, 2017; Published: 19 April 2017); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2253967.5370387601001.
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