NIR-II fluorescence microscopic imaging of cortical vasculature in non-human primates

Zhaochong Cai, Liang Zhu, Mengqi Wang, Anna Wang Roe, Wang Xi, Jun Qian

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

73 Scopus citations


Vasculature architecture of the brain can provide revealing information about mental and neurological function and disease. Fluorescence imaging in the second near-infrared (NIR-II) regime with less light scattering is a more promising method for detecting cortical vessels than traditional visible and NIR-I modes. Methods: Clinically approved dye indocyanine green (ICG) was used for NIR-II fluorescence imaging. Here, for the first time, we developed two NIR-II fluorescence microscopy systems for brain vasculature imaging in macaque monkeys. The first is a wide-field microscope with high temporal resolution for measuring blood flow velocity and cardiac impulse period, while the second is a high spatial resolution confocal microscope producing three-dimensional maps of the cortical microvascular network. Both were designed with flexibility to image various cortical locations on the head. Results: Here, ICG was proved to have high brightness in NIR-II region and an 8-fold QY increase in serum than in water. We achieved cerebrovascular functional imaging of monkey with high temporal resolution (25 frames/second) with wide-field microscope. The blood flow velocity of capillaries can be precisely calculated and the cardiac impulse period can be monitored as well. In vivo structural imaging of cerebrovasculature was accomplished with both high spatial lateral resolution (~8 µm) and high signal to background ratio (SBR). Vivid 3D reconstructed NIR-II fluorescence confocal microscopic images up to depth of 470 μm were also realized. Conclusion: This work comprises an important advance towards studies of neurovascular coupling, stroke, and other diseases relevant to neurovascular health in humans.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4265-4276
Number of pages12
Issue number9
StatePublished - 2020


  • Confocal imaging
  • Cortical vasculature
  • Indocyanine green
  • NIR-II fluorescence imaging
  • Non-human primates

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics (miscellaneous)


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