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Journal of Biomedicine and Biotechnology
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 519238, 14 pages
Review Article

Ultrasound Biomicroscopy in Small Animal Research: Applications in Molecular and Preclinical Imaging

1Department of Biomorphological and Functional Sciences, University of Naples “Federico II”, 80131 Naples, Italy
2CEINGE-Biotecnologie Avanzate, s.c.ar.l., 80145 Naples, Italy
3Institute of Biostructure and Bioimaging, Italian National Research Council (CNR), 80131 Naples, Italy
4SDN Foundation Instituto di Ricovero e Cura a Carattere Scientifico (M.M.), 80131 Naples, Italy
5Department of Biochemistry and Microbiology, Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine, Marshall University, Huntington, WV 25755, USA
6Department of Surgery, Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine, Marshall University, Huntington, WV 25755, USA

Received 1 August 2011; Accepted 12 August 2011

Academic Editor: Monica Fedele

Copyright © 2012 A. Greco et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Ultrasound biomicroscopy (UBM) is a noninvasive multimodality technique that allows high-resolution imaging in mice. It is affordable, widely available, and portable. When it is coupled to Doppler ultrasound with color and power Doppler, it can be used to quantify blood flow and to image microcirculation as well as the response of tumor blood supply to cancer therapy. Target contrast ultrasound combines ultrasound with novel molecular targeted contrast agent to assess biological processes at molecular level. UBM is useful to investigate the growth and differentiation of tumors as well as to detect early molecular expression of cancer-related biomarkers in vivo and to monitor the effects of cancer therapies. It can be also used to visualize the embryological development of mice in uterus or to examine their cardiovascular development. The availability of real-time imaging of mice anatomy allows performing aspiration procedures under ultrasound guidance as well as the microinjection of cells, viruses, or other agents into precise locations. This paper will describe some basic principles of high-resolution imaging equipment, and the most important applications in molecular and preclinical imaging in small animal research.