Phenotyping the Microvasculature in Critical-Sized Calvarial Defects via Multimodal Optical Imaging

Adam Mendez, Alexandra N. Rindone, Namrata Batra, Pegah Abbasnia, Janaka Senarathna, Stacy Gil, Darian Hadjiabadi, Warren L. Grayson, Arvind P. Pathak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Tissue-engineered scaffolds are a powerful means of healing craniofacial bone defects arising from trauma or disease. Murine models of critical-sized bone defects are especially useful in understanding the role of microenvironmental factors such as vascularization on bone regeneration. Here, we demonstrate the capability of a novel multimodality imaging platform capable of acquiring in vivo images of microvascular architecture, microvascular blood flow, and tracer/cell tracking via intrinsic optical signaling (IOS), laser speckle contrast (LSC), and fluorescence (FL) imaging, respectively, in a critical-sized calvarial defect model. Defects that were 4 mm in diameter were made in the calvarial regions of mice followed by the implantation of osteoconductive scaffolds loaded with human adipose-derived stem cells embedded in fibrin gel. Using IOS imaging, we were able to visualize microvascular angiogenesis at the graft site and extracted morphological information such as vessel radius, length, and tortuosity two weeks after scaffold implantation. FL imaging allowed us to assess functional characteristics of the angiogenic vessel bed, such as time-to-peak of a fluorescent tracer, and also allowed us to track the distribution of fluorescently tagged human umbilical vein endothelial cells. Finally, we used LSC to characterize the in vivo hemodynamic response and maturity of the remodeled microvessels in the scaffold microenvironment. In this study, we provide a methodical framework for imaging tissue-engineered scaffolds, processing the images to extract key microenvironmental parameters, and visualizing these data in a manner that enables the characterization of the vascular phenotype and its effect on bone regeneration. Such multimodality imaging platforms can inform optimization and design of tissue-engineered scaffolds and elucidate the factors that promote enhanced vascularization and bone formation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)430-440
Number of pages11
JournalTissue Engineering - Part C: Methods
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 1 2018


  • angiogenesis
  • bone defect
  • critical-sized defects
  • optical imaging

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Biomedical Engineering


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