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Gold Nanoprisms as Optical Coherence Tomography Contrast Agents in the Second Near-Infrared Window for Enhanced Angiography in Live Animals

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posted on 2018-11-13, 00:00 authored by Peng Si, Edwin Yuan, Orly Liba, Yonatan Winetraub, Siavash Yousefi, Elliott Daniel SoRelle, Derek William Yecies, Rebecca Dutta, Adam de la Zerda
Optical coherence tomography angiography (OCTA) is an important tool for investigating vascular networks and microcirculation in living tissue. Traditional OCTA detects blood vessels via intravascular dynamic scattering signals derived from the movements of red blood cells (RBCs). However, the low hematocrit and long latency between RBCs in capillaries make these OCTA signals discontinuous, leading to incomplete mapping of the vascular networks. OCTA imaging of microvascular circulation is particularly challenging in tumors due to the abnormally slow blood flow in angiogenic tumor vessels and strong attenuation of light by tumor tissue. Here, we demonstrate in vivo that gold nanoprisms (GNPRs) can be used as OCT contrast agents working in the second near-infrared window, significantly enhancing the dynamic scattering signals in microvessels and improving the sensitivity of OCTA in skin tissue and melanoma tumors in live mice. With GNPRs as contrast agents, the postinjection OCT angiograms showed 41 and 59% more microvasculature than preinjection angiograms in healthy mouse skin and melanoma tumors, respectively. By enabling better characterization of microvascular circulation in vivo, GNPR-enhanced OCTA could lead to better understanding of vascular functions during pathological conditions, more accurate measurements of therapeutic response, and improved patient prognoses.