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In vivo imaging of the pulmonary vasculature in small animals is difficult yet highly desirable in order to allow study of the effects of a host of dynamic biological processes such as hypoxic pulmonary vasoconstriction. Here the authors present an approach for the quantification of changes in the vasculature.

Methods: A contrast free angiography technique is validated in silico through the use of computer-generated images and in vivo through microcomputed tomography (μCT) of live mice conducted using a laboratory-based x-ray source. Subsequent image processing on μCT data allowed for the quantification of the caliber of pulmonary vasculature without the need for external contrast agents. These measures were validated by comparing with quantitative contrast microangiography in the same mice.