Simultaneous photoacoustic imaging of intravascular and tissue oxygenation

Opt Lett. 2019 Aug 1;44(15):3773-3776. doi: 10.1364/OL.44.003773.


Hypoxia, a low tissue oxygenation condition caused by insufficient oxygen supply, leads to potentially irreversible tissue damage, such as brain infarction during stroke. Intravascular oxygenation has long been used by photoacoustic imaging, among other imaging modalities, to study hypoxia. However, intravascular oxygenation describes only the oxygen supply via microcirculation, which does not directly reflect the amount of free oxygen available for metabolism in the interstitial fluid. Therefore, to fully understand hypoxia, it is highly desirable to monitor blood oxygenation as well as tissue oxygenation during the same biological process. In this work, by combining high-resolution photoacoustic microscopy (PAM) and a novel bioreducible N-oxide-based hypoxia-sensitive probe HyP-650, we have demonstrated simultaneous imaging of intravascular oxygenation and tissue hypoxia. We have established detailed chemical, optical, and photoacoustic properties of HyP-650 for hypoxic activation in vitro and in living cells. We have also performed PAM on hindlimb ischemia models and tumor-bearing mice to study the correlation between intravascular oxygenation and tissue oxygenation at various hypoxic levels. We expect that Hyp-650 enhanced photoacoustic imaging will find a variety of applications in brain and cancer research.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Blood Vessels / diagnostic imaging*
  • Blood Vessels / metabolism*
  • Hindlimb / blood supply
  • Ischemia / metabolism
  • Ischemia / pathology
  • Mice
  • Microscopy
  • Oxygen / metabolism*
  • Photoacoustic Techniques / methods*
  • Tumor Hypoxia


  • Oxygen