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BioMed Research International
Volume 2015 (2015), Article ID 154272, 8 pages
Research Article

Two-Photon Microscopy Allows Imaging and Characterization of Cochlear Microvasculature In Vivo

1Department of Otorhinolaryngology, University of Göttingen Medical Center, Georg-August-Universität Göttingen, Robert-Koch-Strasse 40, 37099 Göttingen, Germany
2Walter-Brendel-Zentrum für Experimentelle Medizin (WBex), Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, Marchioninistrasse 15, 81377 München, Germany

Received 1 December 2014; Revised 26 February 2015; Accepted 2 March 2015

Academic Editor: Peter S. Roland

Copyright © 2015 Friedrich Ihler 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.


Impairment of cochlear blood flow has been discussed as factor in the pathophysiology of various inner ear disorders. However, the microscopic study of cochlear microcirculation is limited due to small scale and anatomical constraints. Here, two-photon fluorescence microscopy is applied to visualize cochlear microvessels. Guinea pigs were injected with Fluorescein isothiocyanate- or Texas red-dextrane as plasma marker. Intravital microscopy was performed in four animals and explanted cochleae from four animals were studied. The vascular architecture of the cochlea was visualized up to a depth of μm. Imaging yielded a mean contrast-to-noise ratio (CNR) of . Mean diameter in vivo was μm for arterioles and μm for capillaries. In explanted cochleae, the diameter of radiating arterioles and capillaries was measured with μm and μm, respectively. The difference between capillaries and arterioles was statistically significant in both experimental setups ( and , two-way ANOVA). Measured vessel diameters in vivo and ex vivo were in agreement with published data. We conclude that two-photon fluorescence microscopy allows the investigation of cochlear microvessels and is potentially a valuable tool for inner ear research.