A novel method for mapping the heterogeneity in blood supply to normal and malignant tissues in the mouse dorsal window chamber
A novel first-pass imaging method for studying blood flow in tumors and normal tissues in mouse dorsal window chamber preparations is reported in this study. A fluorescence-labeled macromolecule is administered i.v. as a bolus dose, and the signal generated by the bolus is detected as the bolus passes through the vascular network. The sensitivity of the method is sufficiently high that the bolus can be detected in any tumor or normal tissue microvessel. The method is particularly useful for measuring the velocity and direction of blood flow in individual vessel segments of normal and malignant tissues and the blood supply time (BST) of individual tumor vessel segments; i.e., the time required for arterial blood to flow from a supplying tumor artery to a downstream microvessel segment. Since all vessels within a window chamber preparation can be studied simultaneously in a single imaging sequence, a significant benefit of the method is that it can be used to produce maps of velocity of blood flow and BST of the entire microvascular network of xenografted tumors.