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Time-resolved OCT-μPIV: a new microscopic PIV technique for noninvasive depth-resolved pulsatile flow profile acquisition
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In vivo acquisition of endothelial wall shear stress requires instantaneous depth-resolved whole-field pulsatile flow profile measurements in microcirculation. High-accuracy, quantitative and non-invasive velocimetry techniques are essential for emerging real-time mechano-genomic investigations. To address these research needs, a novel biological flow quantification technique, OCT-μPIV, was developed utilizing high-speed optical coherence tomography (OCT) integrated with microscopic Particle Image Velocimetry (μPIV). This technique offers the unique advantage of simultaneously acquiring blood flow profiles and vessel anatomy along arbitrarily oriented sagittal planes. The process is instantaneous and enables real-time 3D flow reconstruction without the need for computationally intensive image processing compared to state-of-the-art velocimetry techniques. To evaluate the line-scanning direction and speed, four sets of parametric synthetic OCT-μPIV data were generated using an in-house code. Based on this investigation, an in vitro experiment was designed at the fastest scan speed while preserving the region of interest providing the depth-resolved velocity profiles spanning across the width of a micro-fabricated channel. High-agreement with the analytical flow profiles was achieved for different flow rates and seed particle types and sizes. Finally, by employing blood cells as non-invasive seeding particles, in vivo embryonic vascular velocity profiles in multiple vessels were measured in the early chick embryo. The pulsatile flow frequency and peak velocity measurements were also acquired with OCT-μPIV, which agreed well with previous reported values. These results demonstrate the potential utility of this technique to conduct practical microfluidic and non-invasive in vivo studies for embryonic blood flows.