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We have developed novel instrumentation using confocal and widefield microscopy to image and analyze thrombus formation in real time in the microcirculation of a living mouse. This system provides high-speed, near-simultaneous acquisition of images of multiple fluorescent probes and a brightfield channel, and supports laser-induced injury through the microscope optics. Although this imaging facility requires interface of multiple hardware components, the primary challenge in vascular imaging is careful experimental design and interpretation. This system has been used to localize tissue factor during thrombus formation, to observe defects in thrombus assembly in genetically altered mice, to study the kinetics of platelet activation and P-selectin expression following vascular injury, to analyze leukocyte rolling on arterial thrombi, to generate three-dimensional models of thrombi, and to analyze the effect of antithrombotic agents in vivo.


Journal of Thrombosis and Haemostasis, 1: 60–68, 2003.