ABSTRACT: In this study, we develop a novel photoacoustic imaging technique based on gold nanorods (AuNRs) for quantitatively monitoring focused-ultrasound (FUS) induced blood-brain barrier (BBB) opening in a rat model in vivo. This study takes advantage of the strong near-infrared absorption (peak at ≈ 800 nm) of AuNRs and the extravasation tendency from BBB opening foci due to their nano-scale size to passively label the BBB disruption area. Experimental results show that AuNR contrast-enhanced photoacoustic microscopy (PAM) successfully reveals the spatial distribution and temporal response of BBB disruption area in the rat brains. The quantitative measurement of contrast enhancement has potential to estimate the local concentration of AuNRs and even the dosage of therapeutic molecules when AuNRs are further used as nano-carrier for drug delivery or photothermal therapy. The photoacoustic results also provide complementary information to MRI, being helpful to discover more details about FUS induced BBB opening in small animal models.
Journal of Biomedical Optics 06/2012; 17(6):061222. · 3.16 Impact Factor