About this Research Topic
Mapping the cerebral structure and function is one of the most exciting fields of science. Recent technological advances in neuroimaging methods provide enormous potential to elucidate the coupling of neuronal, metabolic, and vascular responses in the brain. Photoacoustic (optoacoustic) imaging has emerged as a non-invasive neuroimaging technology offering previously unachievable capabilities to visualize the brain in action. By synergistically combining light excitation and ultrasound detection, it provides rich optical contrast, deep penetration, as well as high-resolution and high imaging speed at both microscopic and macroscopic scales. The readings of optical absorption properties from diverse endogenous and exogenous contrasts empower photoacoustic neuroimaging with unique capabilities for investigating brain function principles and disease mechanisms, thus complementing the limitations of conventional neuroimaging modalities.
Photoacoustic neuroimaging has been demonstrated to be a powerful tool for investigating brain morphology, functionality, and biochemical composition at multiple spatial and temporal scales. Considering that optical absorption contrast in the brain is closely related to oxygen consumption and physiological states, photoacoustic neuroimaging not only reflects the anatomical cerebral structure but also provides valuable functional information by monitoring the dynamic changes in cerebral blood flow and oxygen saturation. The extended ability to visualize a broad choice of exogenous contrast agents, such as fluorescent proteins, chemical dyes, and nanoparticles, further enhances its molecular imaging capabilities. Moreover, photoacoustic neuroimaging offers unique scalability to explore brain function with consistent contrast from microscopic to macroscopic scales, which is particularly important for understanding the hierarchical functional architecture of the brain that can span across spatial scales by multiple orders of magnitude.
In recent years, tremendous developments in both photoacoustic neuroimaging instrumentation and imaging agents have been achieved. These advances significantly broadened the functionality and impact of this technology in brain research and opened new avenues for preclinical and clinical applications in neurophysiology and neuropathology. The goal of this Research Topic is to summarize these recent advances and their impact on understanding the nervous system and brain diseases, as well as to gather exciting new research studies in photoacoustic neuroimaging.
We call for contributions encompassing fundamental theory, technology developments, biomedical studies, and clinical translations of photoacoustic neuroimaging. Potential contributions include, but are not limited by, the following
1. novel approaches for fast, deep, functional, and high-resolution photoacoustic neuroimaging.
2. developments in instrumentations and processing, such as light sources and delivery methods, wearable and implantable devices, real-time data acquisition, and parallel processing.
3. developments in novel ultrasound sensors for photoacoustic neuroimaging, such as piezoelectric transducers and transducer arrays, capacitive micro-machined ultrasound transducers, and optical ultrasound detectors.
4. new photoacoustic contrast agents and biomarkers for neuroimaging, such as genetically encoded chromophores, NIR dyes, nanoparticles, calcium-sensitive indicators, and voltage-sensitive indicators.
5. novel imaging reconstruction and signal processing methods, such as compressed sensing and deep learning methods.
6. developments in mathematical modeling and simulation in photoacoustic neuroimaging, such as vascular modeling, skull aberration modeling, and human brain simulation.
7. multimodal platforms combining photoacoustic neuroimaging with other neuroimaging modalities, such as MRI, multiphoton fluorescence microscopy, and optical coherence tomography.
8. pre-clinical and clinical applications of photoacoustic neuroimaging in trauma, stroke, cancer, Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, etc.
Keywords: Photoacoustic Computed Tomography, Photoacoustic Microscopy, Neuroimaging, Optical Absorption Contrast, Functional Brain Imaging, Calcium-sensitive Indicators, Voltage-sensitive Indicators
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