We describe a novel method (FLICS, FLow Image Correlation Spectroscopy) to extract flow speeds in complex vessel networks from a single raster-scanned optical xy-image, acquired in vivo by confocal or two-photon excitation microscopy. Fluorescent flowing objects produce diagonal lines in the raster-scanned image superimposed to static morphological details. The flow velocity is obtained by computing the Cross Correlation Function (CCF) of the intensity fluctuations detected in pairs of columns of the image. The analytical expression of the CCF has been derived by applying scanning fluorescence correlation concepts to drifting optically resolved objects and the theoretical framework has been validated in systems of increasing complexity. The power of the technique is revealed by its application to the intricate murine hepatic microcirculatory system where blood flow speed has been mapped simultaneously in several capillaries from a single xy-image and followed in time at high spatial and temporal resolution.
ASJC Scopus subject areas