Advances in high-resolution imaging have permitted microscopic observations within the brains of living animals. Applied to Alzheimer's disease (AD) mouse models, multiphoton microscopy has opened a new window to study the real-time appearance and growth of amyloid plaques. Here, we report an alternative technology-optical-resolution photoacoustic microscopy (OR-PAM)-for in vivo imaging of amyloid plaques in a transgenic AD mouse model. In vivo validation using multiphoton microscopy shows that OR-PAM has sufficient sensitivity and spatial resolution to identify amyloid plaques in living brains. In addition, with dual-wavelength OR-PAM, the three-dimensional morphology of amyloid plaques and the surrounding microvasculature are imaged simultaneously through a cranial window. In vivo transcranial OR-PAM imaging of amyloid plaques is highly likely once the imaging parameters are optimized.© (2010) COPYRIGHT SPIE--The International Society for Optical Engineering. Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.