Non-invasive techniques for determining blood flow in the cochlea and imaging its tissue morphology are of paramount importance for the improved understanding, diagnosis, and treatment of sudden sensorineural hearing loss (SSHL) and Meniere's disease. Currently there is no device capable of in vivo measurement of volumetric cochlear blood flow (CoBF) or cochlear tissue morphology. We propose to develop an outpatient imaging instrument that is able to measure CoBF in the human inner ear and categorize the flow level as normal or abnormal. The instrument will also image the position of Reissner's membrane and determine if there is a cochlea hydrops. The instrument can be applied in the outpatient setting and for the first time will provide a metric for determining the basis for, and the form and incidence of 'vascular'SSHL and the rational treatment with vasoactive and anti-inflammatory agents. It will be able to confirm the hydrops form of Meniere's disease diagnosis. The design of the proposed instrument is based on a novel optical imaging modality, 3D optical microangiography (OMAG) and optical coherence tomography (OCT) that we have recently developed. OMAG is able, for the first time, to image the 3D distribution of dynamic blood perfusion, down to the capillary level, within the microcirculation tissue beds at an imaging depth up to 2.00mm into tissue. OMAG produces imaging contrast via endogenous light scattering from moving particles (e.g. flowing blood cells within open vessels), thus no exogenous contrast agents are necessary. It is markedly different from LDF as one may obtain a calibrated metric for the blood flow. Using the OMAG system, we have been able to capture in vivo 3D blood flow images, down to capillary level resolution, from the cochlea in gerbils. The OCT mode of operation of the instrument provided images in the plane passing through the organ of Corti and scala media space that revealed the position of Reissner's membrane. In the proposed research, we aim to design this novel imaging system for in vivo imaging cochlear tissue morphology and CoBF and will test it in an animal model. By its use in humans we expect to define blood flow involvement in SSHL since, with the instrument, blood flow can be systematically investigated for the first time at the resolution level of identifiable vessel classes (artery, arterioles, capillaries, venues and vein). We will correlate the data obtained from use of the instrument with that obtained by high field strength MRI. The project design also includes a clinical arm that aims to translate the technique into the clinical settings.

Public Health Relevance

We propose to develop a novel optical imaging instrument that can provide the simultaneous, quantitative assessment of blood flow and tissue morphology in the cochlea in clinical settings. This novel imaging instrument will become an important tool to improve the understanding, diagnosis and treatment of sudden sensorineural hearing loss and Meniere's disease

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD)
Research Project (R01)
Project #
Application #
Study Section
Special Emphasis Panel (ZDC1-SRB-R (23))
Program Officer
Cyr, Janet
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
University of Washington
Engineering (All Types)
Schools of Medicine
United States
Zip Code
Nguyen, Thu-Mai; Song, Shaozhen; Arnal, Bastien et al. (2014) Shear wave pulse compression for dynamic elastography using phase-sensitive optical coherence tomography. J Biomed Opt 19:16013
Choi, Woo June; Wang, Hequn; Wang, Ruikang K (2014) Optical coherence tomography microangiography for monitoring the response of vascular perfusion to external pressure on human skin tissue. J Biomed Opt 19:056003
Nguyen, Thu-Mai; Song, Shaozhen; Arnal, Bastien et al. (2014) Visualizing ultrasonically induced shear wave propagation using phase-sensitive optical coherence tomography for dynamic elastography. Opt Lett 39:838-41
Ramamoorthy, Sripriya; Zha, Dingjun; Chen, Fangyi et al. (2014) Filtering of acoustic signals within the hearing organ. J Neurosci 34:9051-8
Reif, Roberto; Baran, Utku; Wang, Ruikang K (2014) Motion artifact and background noise suppression on optical microangiography frames using a naïve Bayes mask. Appl Opt 53:4164-71
Reif, Roberto; Yousefi, Siavash; Choi, Woo June et al. (2014) Analysis of cross-sectional image filters for evaluating nonaveraged optical microangiography images. Appl Opt 53:806-15
Song, Shaozhen; Huang, Zhihong; Nguyen, Thu-Mai et al. (2013) Shear modulus imaging by direct visualization of propagating shear waves with phase-sensitive optical coherence tomography. J Biomed Opt 18:121509
Yousefi, Siavash; Qin, Jia; Zhi, Zhongwei et al. (2013) Uniform enhancement of optical micro-angiography images using Rayleigh contrast-limited adaptive histogram equalization. Quant Imaging Med Surg 3:5-17
Zhi, Zhongwei; Jung, Yeongri; Wang, Ruikang K (2012) Label-free 3D imaging of microstructure, blood, and lymphatic vessels within tissue beds in vivo. Opt Lett 37:812-4
Jung, Yeongri; Guan, Guangying; Wei, Chen-Wei et al. (2012) Multifunctional nanoprobe to enhance the utility of optical based imaging techniques. J Biomed Opt 17:016015

Showing the most recent 10 out of 32 publications