The tissue preparations used for in vivo microscopy can be grouped into three classes: (1) in situ preparations (e.g., mouse ear skin, bat wing, human nail bed, mouse tail lymphatics), (2) acute (exteriorized) tissue preparations (e.g., hamster cheek pouch; rat cremaster muscle; mouse, rat, cat, or rabbit mesentery; internal organs such as the heart, lung, stomach, intestine, pancreas, liver, kidney, ovary, breast, spleen, lymph node, or Peyer's patch), and (3) chronic transparent windows (chambers). Each preparation has its strengths and weaknesses. In situ preparation does not require any invasive preparation, but accessible tissue is very limited. Acute exteriorization can be applied to virtually any tissue with variable degrees of difficulty, but the duration and frequency of the observation is limited, and the preparation procedures may affect the microcirculatory parameters.

Window models allow sufficient recovery time after the implantation and permit chronic observation thereafter. Various window models are available today, and more are being developed. This chapter discusses chronic window preparations and their usage for microcirculation research.

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Essentials of Human Physiology

Essentials of Human Physiology

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