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International Journal of Optics
Volume 2011 (2011), Article ID 293684, 20 pages
Review Article

Biophotonics Modalities for High-Resolution Imaging of Microcirculatory Tissue Beds Using Endogenous Contrast: A Review on Present Scenario and Prospects

Biophotonics and Functional Imaging Laboratory, Division of Biomedical Engineering, School of Medicine, Oregon Health and Science University, 3303 SW Bond Avenue, Portland, OR 97239, USA

Received 20 October 2010; Revised 23 February 2011; Accepted 10 March 2011

Academic Editor: Armando Nolasco Pinto

Copyright © 2011 Hrebesh M. Subhash. 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.


The microcirculation is a complex system, and the visualization of microcirculation has great significance in improving our understanding of pathophysiological processes in various disease conditions, in both clinical and fundamental studies. A range of techniques are available or emerging for investigating different aspect of the microcirculation in animals and humans. This paper reviews the recent developments in the field of high-resolution and high-sensitive optical imaging of microcirculatory tissue beds, emphasizing technologies that utilize the endogenous contrast mechanism. Optical imaging techniques such as intravital microscopy, Capillaroscopy, laser Doppler perfusion imaging, laser speckle perfusion imaging, polarization spectroscopy, photo-acoustic tomography, and various implementations of optical coherence tomography based on Doppler and speckle contrast imaging are presented together with their prospectives and challenges.