The role of angiography in the congruence of cardiovascular measurements between autopsy and postmortem imaging
Visualization of the vascular systems of organs or of small animals is important for an assessment of basic physiological conditions, especially in studies that involve genetically manipulated mice. For a detailed morphological analysis of the vascular tree, it is necessary to demonstrate the system in its entirety. In this study, we present a new lipophilic contrast agent, Angiofil, for performing postmortem microangiography by using microcomputed tomography. The new contrast agent was tested in 10 wild-type mice. Imaging of the vascular system revealed vessels down to the caliber of capillaries, and the digital three-dimensional data obtained from the scans allowed for virtual cutting, amplification, and scaling without destroying the sample. By use of computer software, parameters such as vessel length and caliber could be quantified and remapped by color coding onto the surface of the vascular system. The liquid Angiofil is easy to handle and highly radio-opaque. Because of its lipophilic abilities, it is retained intravascularly, hence it facilitates virtual vessel segmentation, and yields an enduring signal which is advantageous during repetitive investigations, or if samples need to be transported from the site of preparation to the place of actual analysis, respectively. These characteristics make Angiofil a promising novel contrast agent; when combined with microcomputed tomography, it has the potential to turn into a powerful method for rapid vascular phenotyping.