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Neural Plasticity
Volume 2016, Article ID 3258494, 8 pages
Research Article

Synchrotron Radiation X-Ray Phase-Contrast Tomography Visualizes Microvasculature Changes in Mice Brains after Ischemic Injury

1School of Communication and Information Engineering, Shanghai University, Shanghai 200444, China
2Med-X Research Institute, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Shanghai 200030, China

Received 3 March 2016; Revised 2 June 2016; Accepted 23 June 2016

Academic Editor: Aviad Hai

Copyright © 2016 Peng Miao 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.


Imaging brain microvasculature is important in plasticity studies of cerebrovascular diseases. Applying contrast agents, traditional μCT and μMRI methods gain imaging contrast for vasculature. The aim of this study is to develop a synchrotron radiation X-ray inline phase-contrast tomography (SRXPCT) method for imaging the intact mouse brain (micro)vasculature in high resolution (~3.7 μm) without contrast agent. A specific preparation protocol was proposed to enhance the phase contrast of brain vasculature by using density difference over gas-tissue interface. The CT imaging system was developed and optimized to obtain 3D brain vasculature of adult male C57BL/6 mice. The SRXPCT method was further applied to investigate the microvasculature changes in mouse brains () after 14-day reperfusion from transient middle cerebral artery occlusion (tMCAO). 3D reconstructions of brain microvasculature demonstrated that the branching radius ratio (post- to preinjury) of small vessels (radius < 7.4 μm) in the injury group was significantly smaller than that in the sham group (). This result revealed the active angiogenesis in the recovery brain after stroke. As a high-resolution and contrast-agent-free method, the SRXPCT method demonstrates higher potential in investigations of functional plasticity in cerebrovascular diseases.