Photoacoustic (PA) imaging has become invaluable in preclinical and clinical research. Endoscopic PA imaging in particular has been explored as a noninvasive imaging modality to view vasculature and diagnose cancers in the digestive system. However, these feasibility studies are still limited to rodents or rabbits. Here, we develop a fully synchronized simultaneous ultrasound and photoacoustic microscopy system using two spectral bands (i.e., the visible and near-infrared) in both optical- and acoustic-resolution modes. We investigate the feasibility of imaging gastric vasculature in an ex vivo porcine model. The entire gastric wall, including the mucosa, submucosa, muscularis propria, and serosa, was excised from fresh porcine stomachs immediately followed by ultrasound and PA imaging being performed within a few hours of sacrifice. PA images of the mucosal vasculature were obtained at depths of 1.90 mm, which is a clinically significant accomplishment considering that the average thickness of the human mucosa is 1.26 mm. The layer structure of the stomach wall could be clearly distinguished in the overlaid PA and US images. Because gastric cancer starts from the mucosal surface and infiltrates into the submucosa, PA imaging can cover a clinically relevant depth in early gastric cancer diagnosis. We were able to detect mucosal vasculature in the entire mucosal layer, suggesting the potential utility of combined PA/US imaging in gastroenterology.
View details for DOI 10.1364/BOE.441241
View details for PubMedID 34858676
View details for PubMedCentralID PMC8606154