Noninvasive imaging of the kidney vasculature in preclinical murine models is important for the assessment of renal development, studying diseases and evaluating new therapies but is challenging to achieve using existing imaging modalities. Photoacoustic imaging is a promising new technique that is particularly well suited to visualizing the vasculature and could provide an alternative to existing preclinical imaging methods for studying renal vascular anatomy and function. To investigate this, an all-optical Fabry-Perot-based photoacoustic scanner was used to image the abdominal region of mice. High-resolution three-dimensional, noninvasive, label-free photoacoustic images of the mouse kidney and renal vasculature were acquired in vivo. The scanner was also used to visualize and quantify differences in the vascular architecture of the kidney in vivo due to polycystic kidney disease. This study suggests that photoacoustic imaging could be utilized as a novel preclinical imaging tool for studying the biology of renal disease.
Keywords: photoacoustic imaging; polycystic kidney disease; renal vasculature.