Development of a Preclinical Laser Speckle Contrast Imaging Instrument for Assessing Systemic and Retinal Vascular Function in Small Rodents.

Journal Article (Journal Article)


To develop and test a non-contact, contrast-free, retinal laser speckle contrast imaging (LSCI) instrument for use in small rodents to assess vascular anatomy, quantify hemodynamics, and measure physiological changes in response to retinal vascular dysfunction over a wide field of view (FOV).


A custom LSCI instrument capable of wide-field and non-contact imaging in small rodents was constructed. The effect of camera gain, laser power, and exposure duration on speckle contrast variance was standardized before the repeatability of LSCI measurements was determined in vivo. Finally, the ability of LSCI to detect alterations in local and systemic vascular function was evaluated using a laser-induced branch retinal vein occlusion and isoflurane anesthesia model, respectively.


The LSCI system generates contrast-free maps of retinal blood flow with a 50° FOV at >376 frames per second (fps) and under a short exposure duration (>50 µs) with high reliability (intraclass correlation R = 0.946). LSCI was utilized to characterize retinal vascular anatomy affected by laser injury and longitudinally measure alterations in perfusion and blood flow profile. Under varied doses of isoflurane, LSCI could assess cardiac and systemic vascular function, including heart rate, peripheral resistance, contractility, and pulse propagation.


We present a LSCI system for detecting anatomical and physiological changes in retinal and systemic vascular health and function in small rodents.

Translational relevance

Detecting and quantifying early anatomical and physiological changes in vascular function in animal models of retinal, systemic, and neurodegenerative diseases could strengthen our understanding of disease progression and enable the identification of new prognostic and diagnostic biomarkers for disease management and for assessing treatment efficacies.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Patel, DD; Dhalla, A-H; Viehland, C; Connor, TB; Lipinski, DM

Published Date

  • August 2021

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 10 / 9

Start / End Page

  • 19 -

PubMed ID

  • 34403474

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC8374978

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 2164-2591

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 2164-2591

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1167/tvst.10.9.19


  • eng