Imaging tool developed at Cornell could find early signs of arterial plaque
A brain imaging tool developed at Cornell University for neuroscience could have unexpected benefits in research on heart disease, the university announced.A research team led by Nozomi Nishimura, assistant professor in the Meinig School of Biomedical Engineering, has applied multiphoton microscopy to the study of atherosclerosis – the buildup of plaque in the walls of the arteries, according to a university article. This buildup is a major cause of heart disease and stroke.
A descendant of the revolutionary two-photon microscopy born nearly 30 years ago in the Clark Hall laboratory of Cornell biophysicist Watt Webb, the Nishimura group's work produced high-resolution images of the earliest evidence of plaque buildup – individual fat cells along the arterial wall – in mouse and human tissue samples, according to the article.
“When you look at tissue under a microscope, there are a lot of indistinct features,” Nishimura said in the article. “But to have something that is this bright, that shows something very specifically related to the disease, is pretty exciting. We believe it has a fair amount of clinical potential because of that specificity.”
The group's paper, “Label-free Imaging of Atherosclerotic Plaques Using Third-Harmonic Generation Microscopy,” published online Dec. 17 in Biomedical Optics Express, a publication of The Optical Society. Postdoctoral researcher David Small and doctoral student Jason Jones, both of the Nishimura Lab, are co-lead authors.