Label-free oxygen-metabolic photoacoustic microscopy in vivo

J Biomed Opt. 2011 Jul;16(7):076003. doi: 10.1117/1.3594786.


Almost all diseases, especially cancer and diabetes, manifest abnormal oxygen metabolism. Accurately measuring the metabolic rate of oxygen (MRO(2)) can be helpful for fundamental pathophysiological studies, and even early diagnosis and treatment of disease. Current techniques either lack high resolution or rely on exogenous contrast. Here, we propose label-free metabolic photoacoustic microscopy (mPAM) with small vessel resolution to noninvasively quantify MRO(2) in vivo in absolute units. mPAM is the unique modality for simultaneously imaging all five anatomical, chemical, and fluid-dynamic parameters required for such quantification: tissue volume, vessel cross-section, concentration of hemoglobin, oxygen saturation of hemoglobin, and blood flow speed. Hyperthermia, cryotherapy, melanoma, and glioblastoma were longitudinally imaged in vivo. Counterintuitively, increased MRO(2) does not necessarily cause hypoxia or increase oxygen extraction. In fact, early-stage cancer was found to be hyperoxic despite hypermetabolism.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Blood Flow Velocity
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Fever / metabolism
  • Glioblastoma / blood supply
  • Glioblastoma / metabolism
  • Hemodynamics
  • Hemoglobins / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Hyperkalemia / congenital
  • Male
  • Melanoma, Experimental / blood supply
  • Melanoma, Experimental / metabolism
  • Mice
  • Mice, Nude
  • Microscopy, Acoustic / instrumentation
  • Microscopy, Acoustic / methods*
  • Microvessels / metabolism
  • Neoplasm Transplantation
  • Oxygen / blood
  • Oxygen / metabolism*


  • Hemoglobins
  • Oxygen

Supplementary concepts

  • Pseudohyperkalemia Cardiff