Oxygen metabolism and matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) play important roles in the pathophysiology of cerebral ischemia. Using multispectral optoacoustic tomography (MSOT) imaging, we visualized in vivo changes in cerebral tissue oxygenation during 1 h of transient middle cerebral artery occlusion (tMCAO) and at 48 h after reperfusion together with MMP activity using an MMP-activatable probe. The deoxyhemoglobin, oxyhemoglobin, and MMP signals were coregistered with structural magnetic resonance imaging data. The ipsi-/contralateral ratio of tissue oxygen saturation ([Formula: see text]) was significantly reduced during 1 h of tMCAO and recovered after 48 h of reperfusion in tMCAO compared with sham-operated mice ([Formula: see text] to 10 per group). A higher ipsi-/contralateral MMP signal ratio was detected at 48 h after reperfusion in the lesioned brain regions of tMCAO compared with the sham-operated animal ([Formula: see text] to 6 per group). Ex vivo near-infrared fluorescence imaging of MMP signal in brain slices was used to validate in vivo MSOT measurements. In conclusion, noninvasive MSOT imaging can provide visualization of hemodynamic alterations and MMP activity in a mouse model of cerebral ischemia.

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