Imaging aspects of cardiovascular disease at the cell and molecular level

Histochem Cell Biol. 2008 Aug;130(2):235-45. doi: 10.1007/s00418-008-0444-5. Epub 2008 May 28.


Cell and molecular imaging has a long and distinguished history. Erythrocytes were visualized microscopically by van Leeuwenhoek in 1674, and microscope technology has evolved mightily since the first single-lens instruments, and now incorporates many types that do not use photons of light for image formation. The combination of these instruments with preparations stained with histochemical and immunohistochemical markers has revolutionized imaging by allowing the biochemical identification of components at subcellular resolution. The field of cardiovascular disease has benefited greatly from these advances for the characterization of disease etiologies. In this review, we will highlight and summarize the use of microscopy imaging systems, including light microscopy, electron microscopy, confocal scanning laser microscopy, laser scanning cytometry, laser microdissection, and atomic force microscopy in conjunction with a variety of histochemical techniques in studies aimed at understanding mechanisms underlying cardiovascular diseases at the cell and molecular level.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Aorta / ultrastructure
  • Atherosclerosis / pathology
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / pathology*
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted / methods*
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Microdissection
  • Microscopy / methods*
  • Microscopy, Atomic Force
  • Microscopy, Confocal
  • Microscopy, Immunoelectron
  • Myocardium / ultrastructure