Liver-secreted fluorescent blood plasma markers enable chronic imaging of the microcirculation

Cell Rep Methods. 2022 Sep 21;2(10):100302. doi: 10.1016/j.crmeth.2022.100302. eCollection 2022 Oct 24.


Studying blood microcirculation is vital for gaining insights into vascular diseases. Blood flow imaging in deep tissue is currently achieved by acute administration of fluorescent dyes in the blood plasma. This is an invasive process, and the plasma fluorescence decreases within an hour of administration. Here, we report an approach for the longitudinal study of vasculature. Using a single intraperitoneal or intravenous administration of viral vectors, we express fluorescent secretory albumin-fusion proteins in the liver to chronically label the blood circulation in mice. This approach allows for longitudinal observation of circulation from 2 weeks to over 4 months after vector administration. We demonstrate the chronic assessment of vascular functions including functional hyperemia and vascular plasticity in micro- and mesoscopic scales. This genetic plasma labeling approach represents a versatile and cost-effective method for the chronic investigation of vasculature functions across the body in health and disease animal models.

Keywords: adeno-associated virus; albumin; cerebral blood flow; chronic; hepatocytes; hyperemia; in vivo imaging; microcirculation; recombinant protein; vasculature.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Diagnostic Imaging*
  • Liver* / diagnostic imaging
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Mice
  • Microcirculation / physiology
  • Plasma

Associated data

  • figshare/10.6084/m9.figshare.20629626