Endothelial Dysfunction

The endothelium is the lining of blood vessels of the circulatory system, with a fundamental role in vasodilation. Studies of endothelial dysfunction are widespread and include a number of areas of both clinical and pre-clinical research. Fundamental to such studies are the techniques of laser Doppler monitoring and imaging combined, for example, with pressure cuff challenges, iontophoresis and/ or skin heating to provide reproducible challenges. The most recent advance in the field of iontophoresis and laser Doppler has been the use of laser Doppler imaging (LDI) in place of monitoring (LDF). The advantage of imaging is that blood flow can be imaged and recorded over an area of interest rather than a single point measurement, thus results are both more reliable and show better reproducibility.

Techniques Field of study Reference
Iontophoresis Raynaud’s Phenomenon Shepherd et al, 2019
Ethnicity Maley et al, 2017
Glaucoma Bukhari et al, 2019
Cardiovascular disease Frank et al. 2010
George et al. 2009
Jadhav et al. 2007
Khan et al. 2008
Diabetes Beer et al. 2008
Franklin et al. 2008
Peripheral neuropathy Brooks et al, 2008
Systemic sclerosis Gunawardena et al 2007a
Murray et al. 2008
Dermal microvascular blood flow Agarwal et al. 2010
Idiopathic inflammatory myopathy Gunawardena et al 2007b
Skin heating & Iontophoresis Vascular reactivity Beed et al, 2009
Heating Vascular reactivity Casey et al, 2020
Del Pozzi et al, 2016
Minson et al, 2002
PORH Endothelial function Yamamoto-Suganuma & Aso, 2009
Endothelial function Spaan et al, 2010
Microvascular function – CVD Shore et al, 2005
PORH & Heating Endothelial Function & Ethnicity Petrofski et al, 2013
Strain et al, 2010

Equipment Recommendations

It is difficult to make a definitive recommendation due to the wide scope of challenges used, coupled with the use of both monitoring and imaging, and the number of suitable imagers available. Systems can be offered to suit a range of budgets though and you are welcome to contact us to discuss further. Extended use of equipment for other research fields might influence the final decision but an ideal investigation lab would include the speckle contrast imager (moorFLPI-2), iontophoresis (MIC2) and skin heating (moorVMS-HEAT) options.

Laser Speckle Contrast Imager

Full-field, video frame rate blood flow imaging

Laser Speckle Imager | moorFLPI-2

moorFLPI-2 - Full-field, video frame rate blood flow imaging
moorVMS-ION - Transdermal drug delivery by iontophoresis
moorVMS-HEAT - Skin heater module offers flexible and reproducible skin heating protocols for flow/ oxygen response assessments
moorVMS-PRES - Automatic pressure cuff control for routine microvascular testing

What Next?

Contact us to discuss your specific needs and to request your copy of our free Application Note which includes a detailed experimental method and practical suggestions. We also offer no obligation on-site visits so you can test the equipment in your facility.


Agarwal S. C., Allen J., Murray A., Purcell I. F. (2010)
Comparative reproducibility of dermal microvascular blood flow changes in response to acetylcholine iontophoresis, hyperthermia and reactive hyperaemia.
Physiological Measurement, 31 (1)

Gunawardena H., Harris N. D., Carmichael C., McHugh N. J. (2007b)
Microvascular responses following digital thermal hyperaemia and iontophoresis measured by laser Doppler imaging in idiopathic inflammatory myopathy.
Rheumatology, 46, pp 1483-1486

Jadhav S., Sattar N., Petrie J. R., Cobbe S. M., Ferrell W. R. (2007)
Reproducibility and repeatability of peripheral microvascular assessment using iontophoresis in conjunction with laser Doppler imaging.
Journal of Cardiovascular Pharmacology, 50 (3), pp 343-349

Khan F., George J., Wong K., McSwiggan S., Struthers A. D., Belch J. J. F. (2008)
The association between serum urate levels and arterial stiffness/endothelial function in stroke survivors.
Atherosclerosis, 200, pp 374-379

Sandoo A, Kitas G. D (2015)
A Methodological Approach to Non-invasive Assessments of Vascular Function and Morphology.

Turner J., Belch J. J. F., Khan F. (2008)
Current concepts in assessment of microvascular endothelial function using laser Doppler imaging and iontophoresis.
Trends in Cardiovascular Medicine, 18, (4), pp 109-116