Photoacoustic Imaging in Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine

Binita Shrestha, Frank Deluna, Mark A. Anastasio, Jing Yong Ye, Eric M. Brey

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Several imaging modalities are available for investigation of the morphological, functional, and molecular features of engineered tissues in small animal models. While research in tissue engineering and regenerative medicine (TERM) would benefit from a comprehensive longitudinal analysis of new strategies, researchers have not always applied the most advanced methods. Photoacoustic imaging (PAI) is a rapidly emerging modality that has received significant attention due to its ability to exploit the strong endogenous contrast of optical methods with the high spatial resolution of ultrasound methods. Exogenous contrast agents can also be used in PAI for targeted imaging. Applications of PAI relevant to TERM include stem cell tracking, longitudinal monitoring of scaffolds in vivo, and evaluation of vascularization. In addition, the emerging capabilities of PAI applied to the detection and monitoring of cancer and other inflammatory diseases could be exploited by tissue engineers. This article provides an overview of the operating principles of PAI and its broad potential for application in TERM. Photoacoustic imaging, a new hybrid imaging technique, has demonstrated high potential in the clinical diagnostic applications. The optical and acoustic aspect of the photoacoustic imaging system works in harmony to provide better resolution at greater tissue depth. Label-free imaging of vasculature with this imaging can be used to track and monitor disease, as well as the therapeutic progression of treatment. Photoacoustic imaging has been utilized in tissue engineering to some extent; however, the full benefit of this technique is yet to be explored. The increasing availability of commercial photoacoustic systems will make application as an imaging tool for tissue engineering application more feasible. This review first provides a brief description of photoacoustic imaging and summarizes its current and potential application in tissue engineering.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)79-102
Number of pages24
JournalTissue Engineering - Part B: Reviews
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2020


  • assessment
  • cell tracking and monitoring
  • label-free vascular imaging
  • photoacoustic imaging
  • scaffold imaging
  • tissue engineering

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Biomaterials
  • Biochemistry
  • Biomedical Engineering


Dive into the research topics of 'Photoacoustic Imaging in Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this