Monitoring cortical hemodynamic response after ischemic stroke (IS) is essential for understanding the pathophysiological mechanisms behind IS-induced neuron loss. Functional optical coherence tomography (OCT) is an emerging technology that can fulfill the requirement, providing label-free, high-resolution 3D images of cerebral hemodynamics.
Unfortunately, strong tissue scattering pose a significant challenge for existing OCT oximetry techniques, as they either ignore the effect or compensate it numerically. Here we developed a novel dual-depth sampling and normalization strategy using visible-light OCT (vis-OCT) angiograms that can provide robust and precise sO2 estimations within cerebral circulation. The related theoretical formulation were established, and its implication and limitations were discussed.
We monitored mouse cortical hemodynamics using the newly-developed method. Focal ischemic stroke was induced through photothrombosis. The analysis on pre- and post-IS vis-OCT images revealed both vascular morphology and oxygenation altered substantially after the occlusion. First, the ischemic core could be clearly identified as angiographic intensity fell below the detection limit. In addition, vessel dilation presented universally in the penumbra region. Notably for pial arteriles, the percentage of increase demonstrated inverse relationship with their pre-occlusion, pre-dilation dimeter.
Vis-OCT oxygenation maps on intact cortex revealed spatial sO2 variations within pial vessels. Specifically, sO2 in arterioles decreased as it bifurcated and plunged into deeper tissue. Similarly, venous sO2 was higher in the larger, more superficial pial brunches. However, such difference was no longer appreciable after photothrombosis. Averaged arteriole sO2 dropped to 64% – 67% in the penumbra region.