Microcirculation, a complex network of small vessels consisting of arterioles, capillaries, and venules, with a typical diameter ranging from 5 to 50 μm, delivers blood, nutrients, and signaling molecules to tissues and organs, playing a crucial role in their maintenance and hemodynamics. Moreover, microcirculation impairments and dysfunctions are involved in a variety of pathological processes, including cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, excessive angiogenesis, and tumors.
It is, therefore, clear that the characterization of the blood flow velocity, in parallel to the high-spatial-resolution imaging of the tissue, is fundamental to provide critical and essential information regarding healthy and pathological conditions, disease diagnosis, and develop and monitor the response to treatments.
Many different blood flow measurement techniques have been proposed. Our specific focus here is to review noninvasive optical methods to determine the blood flow velocity in microcirculation, giving emphasis to the most recent developments in this field and to the possibility to routinely apply these methods in most research laboratories.
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