Super-resolution ultrasound imaging, based on the localization and tracking of single intravascular microbubbles, makes it possible to map vessels below 100 µm. Microbubble velocities can be estimated as a surrogate for blood velocity, but their clinical potential is unclear. We investigated if a decrease in microbubble velocity in the arterial and venous beds of the renal cortex, outer medulla, and inner medulla was detectable after intravenous administration of the α1-adrenoceptor antagonist prazosin. The left kidneys of seven rats were scanned with superresolution ultrasound for 10 min before, during, and after prazosin administration using a bk5000 ultrasound scanner and hockey-stick probe. The super-resolution images were manually segmented, separating cortex, outer medulla, and inner medulla. Microbubble tracks from arteries/arterioles were separated from vein/venule tracks using the arterial blood flow direction. The mean microbubble velocities from each scan were compared. This showed a significant prazosin-induced velocity decrease only in the cortical arteries/arterioles (from 1.59 ± 0.38 to 1.14 ± 0.31 to 1.18 ± 0.33 mm/s, p = 0.013) and outer medulla descending vasa recta (from 0.70 ± 0.05 to 0.66 ± 0.04 to 0.69 ± 0.06 mm/s, p = 0.026). Conclusively, super-resolution ultrasound imaging makes it possible to detect and differentiate microbubble velocity responses to prazosin simultaneously in the renal cortical and medullary vascular beds.
- Contrast-enhanced ultrasound
- Ultrasound localization microscopy
- Microvascular flow
- Sprague Dawley rats