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8 March 2013In vivo optical activation of astrocytes as a potential therapeutic strategy for neurodegenerative diseases
Neurovascular dysfunction in many neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease (AD), reduces blood flow to affected brain areas and causes neuronal dysfunction and loss. A new optical imaging technique is developed to activate astrocytes in live animal models in order to investigate the increase of local cerebral blood flow as a potential therapeutic strategy for AD. The technique uses fluorescent labeling of vasculature and astrocytes coupled with intravital 2-photon microscopy to visualize the astrocyte-vasculature interactions in live animals. Using femtosecond laser stimulation, calcium uncaging is applied to specifically target and activate astrocytes in vivo with high spatial and temporal resolutions. Intravital 2-photon microscopy imaging was employed to demonstrate that single endfoot optical activation around an arteriole induced a 25% increase in arteriole diameter, which in turn increased cerebral local blood flow in down-stream capillaries. This quantitative result indicates the potential of using optical activation of astrocytes in afflicted brain areas of neurodegeneration to restore normal neurovascular functions.
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Yuanxin Chen, James Mancuso, Zhen Zhao, Xuping Li, Zhong Xue, Stephen T. C. Wong, "In vivo optical activation of astrocytes as a potential therapeutic strategy for neurodegenerative diseases," Proc. SPIE 8565, Photonic Therapeutics and Diagnostics IX, 85655K (8 March 2013);