Toward a comprehensive interpretation of intravital microscopy images in studies of lung tissue dynamics

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  • External authors:
  • Maria Gaertner
  • Christian Schnabel
  • Sven Meissner
  • Ulrich Kertzscher
  • Lars Kirsten
  • Edmund Koch


Intravital microscopy (IVM) is a well-established imaging technique for real-time monitoring of microscale lung tissue dynamics. Although accepted as a gold standard in respiratory research, its characteristic image features are scarcely understood, especially when trying to determine the actual position of alveolar walls. To allow correct interpretation of these images with respect to the true geometry of the lung parenchyma, we analyzed IVM data of alveoli in a mouse model in comparison with simultaneously acquired optical coherence tomography images. Several IVM characteristics, such as double ring structures or disappearing alveoli in regions of liquid filling, could be identified and related to the position of alveoli relative to each other. Utilizing a ray tracing approach based on an idealized geometry of the mouse lung parenchyma, two major reflection processes could be attributed to the IVM image formation: partial reflection and total internal reflection between adjacent alveoli. Considering the origin of the reflexes, a model was developed to determine the true position of alveolar walls within IVM images. These results allow thorough understanding of IVM data and may serve as a basis for the correction of alveolar sizes for more accurate quantitative analysis within future studies of lung tissue dynamics.

Bibliographical metadata

Original languageEnglish
Article number066009
JournalJournal of Biomedical Optics
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 25 Jun 2015