Techniques for the observation and measurement of red blood cell velocity in vessels of the guinea pig cochlea

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Fluorescence techniques combined with intravital microscopy provide a powerful approach to the study of cochlear blood microcirculation. In the current study, fluorescein isothiocyanate conjugated to high molecular weight dextrans was added to plasma to enhance the visual contrast of flowing blood in microscopic images from the guinea pig cochlea. Photometric signals, obtained from video pictures of the blood vessels, provided a means to continuously measure red cell velocity by using crosscorrelation algorithms to extract the time delay for moving features of the image. Alternatively, a small amount of fluorescently-labeled red blood cells (RBCs) were added to the vascular volume to serve as natural indicators of whole blood flow. The speed of these cells was measured by video photometric detection of the time required for the cells to pass between two predetermined positions in the television image. RBCs can be made fluorescent by chemical bonding of a fluorochrome to the cell membrane or by internal loading of the cell with an inert fluorochrome. Labeled RBCs provide a means to determine blood velocity in capillaries having extremely poor optical contrast, a situation which is generally the case for relatively thick tissues such as the lateral wall of the membranous labyrinth.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)111-119
Number of pages9
JournalHearing Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1987
Externally publishedYes


  • Cochlea
  • Fluorescence
  • Intravital microscopy
  • Microcirculation
  • Red blood cell
  • Velocity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sensory Systems


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