Assessing nailfold microvascular structure with ultra-wideband raster-scan optoacoustic mesoscopy

J. Aguirre, B. Hindelang, A. Bereznhoi, U. Darsow, F. Lauffer, K. Eyerich, T. Biedermann, V. Ntziachristos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


Nailfold capillaroscopy, based on bright-field microscopy, is widely used to diagnose systemic sclerosis (SSc). However it cannot reveal information about venules and arterioles lying deep under the nailfold, nor can it provide detailed data about surface microvasculature when the skin around the nail is thick. These limitations reflect the fact that capillaroscopy is based on microscopy methods whose penetration depth is restricted to about 200 μm. We investigated whether ultra-wideband raster-scan optoacoustic mesoscopy (UWB-RSOM) can resolve small capillaries of the nailfold in healthy volunteers and compared the optoacoustic data to conventional capillaroscopy examinations. We quantified UWB-RSOM-resolved capillary density and capillary diameter as features that relate to SSc biomarkers, and we obtained the first three-dimensional, in vivo images of the deeper arterioles and venules. These results establish the potential of UWB-RSOM for analyzing SSc-relevant markers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)31-37
Number of pages7
StatePublished - Jun 2018


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