Basic mechanism of in vitro pulsed-dye laser-induced vasodilation

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✓ Vasodilation of rabbit carotid arteries induced by a pulsed-eye laser was studied in vitro to clarify the underlying mechanism. Artery segments were double cannulated in a pressure-perfusion apparatus which, under physiological conditions, allows for differential application of various solutions, pharmacological agents, and pulsed-dye laser light. Vaso-constriction was activated using both pharmacological and nonpharmacological agonists.

Laser energy at a wavelength of either 480 or 575 nm was applied intraluminally in 1-µsec pulses, which caused dilation of the arteries if hemoglobin was present in the lumen at sufficient concentration. Induced vasodilation did not specifically require the presence of hemoglobin; the same phenomenon could be repeated using an inert dye such as Evans blue as an optical absorber of laser energy. The optical density of the absorber, the number of applied laser pulses, and total amount of applied energy directly influenced the vasodilatory response. Laser-induced vasodilation was possible in both normal vessels and vessels denuded of endothelium. Pulsed-dye laser-induced vasodilation is therefore not a phenomenon mediated through chemical processes, but is rather a purely physical process initiated by the optical absorption of laser energy by the intraluminal medium, which probably induces cavitation bubble formation and collapse, resulting in the vasodilatory response of the vessel.

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Address reprint requests to: John W. Peterson, Ph.D., Neurosurgical Service, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts 02114.

© AANS, except where prohibited by US copyright law.

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    Schematic drawing showing the double-cannulation pressure-perfusion apparatus, as described in text. This apparatus produces a continuous record of vessel diameter as a function of time under conditions of various perfusion pressures and luminal perfusate and adventitial superfusate composition.

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    A typical chart recording demonstrating rabbit carotid artery segment diameter during the experimental protocol. The test vasoconstriction with K+ —physiological saline solution (PSS) perfusion and superfusion was relaxed by Na+ —PSS perfusion/superfusion and the vessel reconstricted with adventitial 1025 M histamine in K+ —PSS until stable. The lumen was then perfused with Na+ —PSS containing 25 optical density (OD) unit concentration of hemolysate for 10 to 15 minutes. Twenty pulses of 575 nm laser energy at 10 mJ/pulse resulted in immediate vasodilation followed by slow partial recovery. The lumen was then perfused with Na+ —PSS containing 50 OD hemolysate. Twenty pulses of 575 nm laser energy at 10 mJ/pulse resulted in complete vasodilation with no apparent recovery.

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    Graphs depicting relative vasodilation of rabbit basilar arteries by 50 pulses of laser light at 575 nm and varying energies/pulse for different optical absorbers perfusing the lumen of constricted carotid artery segments. A: Results with hemolysate at 10 (closed circles), 25 (open circles), and 50 (squares) optical density (OD) unit concentrations. Data points are the means (± standard error) measured in four segments from each of two different arteries. B: Results with Evans blue dye at 10 (closed circles), 25 (open circles), and 50 (closed squares) OD unit concentrations. Data were obtained from four artery segments from two different arteries for each data point. Two-factor analysis of variance resulted in p < 0.0001.

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    Graphs showing relative vasodilation of rabbit basilar arteries in a variety of settings. Upper Left: Vasodilation in the presence of Evans blue dye of different optical densities (OD) is shown as a function of single laser-pulse energy for five pulses at 480 nm. Closed circles represent 2 OD unit concentration of the absorber, open circles 10 OD, closed squares 25 OD, and closed triangles 50 OD. At 25 and 50 OD unit concentrations, the artery segments dilated with a nearly linear response. Data points are means ± standard error (SE) measured in four segments from two different arteries. Two factor analysis of variance gave a p < 0.0001. Upper Right: Vasodilation as a function of laser energy applied at 480 nm to constricted artery segments as either five pulses (closed circles) or 10 pulses (open circles) with Evans blue dye as the perfusate at 50 OD. Data points are means ± SE measured in four artery segments from two arteries. Lower Left: Vasodilation after the application of five pulses of laser energy at 480 nm in artery segments denuded of endothelium for luminal perfusion with Evans blue dye at 25 OD (closed circles) and 50 OD (open circles). Data points are means ± SE measured in two to four artery segments from four arteries. Statistical significance at p < 0.001 is observed for the difference between the two groups at 25 mJ laser-pulse energy. Lower Right: Vasodilation with 50 pulses of laser energy at 575 nm in artery segments perfused with Evans blue dye at 50 OD via a 320-µm quartz fiber with either flat flame-polished tip (closed circles) or a ball-end tip (open circles). Data points are means ± SE for two to five artery segments from four vessels. No statistically significant differences were observed.

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