CNBP researchers shine new light on stroke events inside the brain

Capture3 December 2014:  Publication

Recently published paper from CNBP researchers using optical fibres to monitor the evolution of processes relating to ischaemic stroke by measuring the activation of a fluorescent photosensitive dye inside the brain of living mice in real time.

Researchers from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Nanoscale BioPhotonics (CNBP) have demonstrated that measurements of fluorescent chemicals can be made deep inside the brain of living mice in a project hoping to expand our understanding of the events unravelling during a stroke event. The research was published at Biomedical Optics Express.

Dr Georgios Tsiminis, Dr Erik Schartner, Dr Stephen Warren-Smith and Prof. Tanya Monro from the CNBP, along with Dr Thomas Klaric and Dr Martin Lewis from the Stroke Research Programme led by Prof. Simon Koblar at the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institution (SAHMRI) and the University of Adelaide put together a transdisciplinary research programme, funded by a pilot project grant provided by the Institute for Photonics and Advanced Sensing (IPAS).

This project aimed to extend understanding of what happens during the photochemical stroke model, a rodent stroke model that creates stroke infarcts using a photosensitive organic dye, allowing biomedical researchers to investigate how stroke events occur and what they can do to aid recovery. The existing photochemical stroke model creates stroke infarcts on the surface of the brain as it uses external illumination and any information on what has occurred in the brain can only be determined by post-mortem biopsy.

In this work CNBP researchers used an optical fibre to deliver laser light deep inside the brain at the hippocampus, allowing the controlled creation of stroke infarcts anywhere in the brain. In addition, the same fibre collects the signal from the stroke-inducing dye, allowing the estimation of the dye concentration at the site of the stroke event and the monitoring of the evolution of the dye breakdown in real time.

This is the first time that such measurements have been performed inside the brain of a living animal, highlighting the capabilities of photonics technologies applied to biomedical problems and the novel results they create for researchers in the field.

The original publication can be found at http://dx.doi.org/10.1364/BOE.5.003975.