Study of osteocyte behavior by high-resolution intravital imaging following photo-induced ischemia

Hengfeng Yuan, Wen Jiang, Yuanxin Chen, Betty Y.S. Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Ischemic injuries and local hypoxia can result in osteocytes dysfunction and play a key role in the pathogenesis of avascular osteonecrosis. Conventional imaging techniques including magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and computed tomography (CT) can reveal structural and functional changes within bony anatomy; however, characterization of osteocyte behavioral dynamics in the setting of osteonecrosis at the single cell resolution is limited. Here, we demonstrate an optical approach to study real-time osteocyte functions in vivo. Using nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NADH) as a biomarker for metabolic dynamics in osteocytes, we showed that NADH level within osteocytes transiently increase significantly after local ischemia through non-invasive photo-induced thrombosis of afferent arterioles followed by a steady decline. Our study presents a non-invasive optical approach to study osteocyte behavior through the modulation of local environmental conditions. Thus it provides a powerful toolkit to study cellular processes involved in bone pathologies in vivo.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number2874
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 4 2018


  • NADH
  • Osteocyte
  • Osteonecrosis
  • Two-photon

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Chemistry (miscellaneous)
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Pharmaceutical Science
  • Drug Discovery
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry


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