Bimodal biophotonic imaging of the structure-function relationship in cardiac tissue
The development of systems physiology is hampered by the limited ability to relate tissue structure and function in intact organs in vivo or in vitro. Here, we show the application of a bimodal biophotonic imaging approach that employs optical coherence tomography and fluorescent imaging to investigate the structure-function relationship at the tissue level in the heart. Reconstruction of cardiac excitation and structure was limited by the depth penetration of bimodal imaging to ∼2mm in atrial tissue, and ∼1mm in ventricular myocardium. The subcellular resolution of optical coherence tomography clearly demonstrated that microscopic fiber orientation governs the pattern of wave propagation in functionally characterized rabbit sinoatrial and atrioventricular nodal preparations and revealed structural heterogeneities contributing to ventricular arrhythmias. The combination of this bimodal biophotonic imaging approach with histology and/or immunohistochemistry can span multiple scales of resolution for the investigation of the molecular and structural determinants of intact tissue physiology.
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