Multiphoton microscopy relies on nonlinear light-matter interactions to provide contrast and optical sectioning capability for high-resolution imaging. Most multiphoton microscopy studies in biological systems have relied on two-photon excited fluorescence (TPEF) to produce images. With increasing applications of multiphoton microscopy to thick-tissue "intravital" imaging, second-harmonic generation (SHG) from structural proteins has emerged as a potentially important new contrast mechanism. However, SHG is typically detected in transmission mode, thus limiting TPEF/SHG coregistration and its practical utility for in vivo thick-tissue applications. In this study, we use a broad range of excitation wavelengths (730-880 nm) to demonstrate that TPEF/SHG coregistration can easily be achieved in unstained tissues by using a simple backscattering geometry. The combined TPEF/SHG technique was applied to imaging a three-dimensional organotypic tissue model (RAFT). The structural and molecular origin of the image-forming signal from the various tissue constituents was determined by simultaneous spectroscopic measurements and confirming immunofluorescence staining. Our results show that at shorter excitation wavelengths (<800 nm), the signal emitted from the extracellular matrix (ECM) is a combination of SHG and TPEF from collagen, whereas at longer excitation wavelengths the ECM signal is exclusively due to SHG. Endogenous cellular signals are consistent with TPEF spectra of cofactors NAD(P)H and FAD at all excitation wavelengths. The reflected SHG intensity follows a quadratic dependence on the excitation power, decays exponentially with depth, and exhibits a spectral dependence in accordance with previous theoretical studies. The use of SHG and TPEF in combination provides complementary information that allows noninvasive, spatially localized in vivo characterization of cell-ECM interactions in unstained thick tissues.
N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) is an acidic amino acid which depolarizes neurons by selectively interacting with a distinct class of excitatory amino acid receptor. Recent evidence has indicated that this receptor is a neurotransmitter receptor in the spinal cord, cerebral cortex, and hippocampus for which the endogenous ligand is likely to be L-glutamate or a structurally related compound. Using quantitative autoradiography, we have studied the anatomical distribution of the class of L-[3H]glutamate-binding sites displaced by NMDA, which appear to correspond to NMDA receptors. The CA1 region of the hippocampus contains the highest density of sites. In general, telencephalic regions have high levels of binding sites. The cerebral cortex shows significant density variations among the differing layers and regions, with the highest levels found in the frontal cortex layers I to III. Within the basal ganglia, the highest levels are found in the nucleus accumbens, intermediate levels are found in the caudate/putamen, and very low levels are found in the globus pallidus. Thalamic regions have moderate levels with variations among differing regions. Midbrain and brainstem have low levels of binding sites, but within these regions there are structures exhibiting higher levels, e.g., the nucleus of the solitary tract and the inferior olive. The distribution of NMDA sites is consistent with most, but not all, of the regions previously proposed to use glutamate as an excitatory transmitter. Thus, the distribution of NMDA-sensitive L-[3H]glutamate-binding sites suggests that the NMDA receptor represents a major, distinct subset of excitatory amino acid receptors and indicates regions in which neurotransmission may be mediated or modulated by this receptor.
Diffuse optical imaging (DOI) may be a beneficial diagnostic method for women with mammographically dense breast tissue. In order to evaluate the utility of DOI, we are developing broadband diffuse optical spectroscopy (DOS) to characterize the functional origins of optical signals in breast cancer patients. Broadband DOS combines multifrequency intensity-modulated and continuous-wave near-infrared light to quantify tissue absorption and scattering spectra from 650 to 1000 nm. Values of intrinsic physiological properties (oxy- and deoxy-hemoglobin, water, lipid, and scatter power) derived from absorption and scattering spectra provide detailed information on breast physiology. We present the results of clinical studies of 58 stage II/III malignant breast tumors using a noninvasive, handheld, broadband DOS probe. On average, eight positions were scanned over tumor and contralateral normal breast for each subject. Intrinsic physiological properties were statistically significantly different for malignant vs. normal tissues for all subjects, without patient age or tumor size/type stratification. Breast tissues containing malignant tumors displayed reduced lipid content ( approximately 20%) and increased water, deoxy-, and oxy-hemoglobin (>50% each) compared to normal breast tissues. Functional perturbations by the tumor were significantly larger than functional variations in normal tissues. A tissue optical index (TOI) derived from intrinsic physiological properties yielded an average two-fold contrast difference between malignant tumors and intrinsic tissue properties. Our results demonstrate that intrinsic optical signals can be influenced by functional perturbations characteristic of malignant transformation; cellular metabolism, extracellular matrix composition, and angiogenesis. Our findings further underscore the importance of broadband measurements and patient age stratification in breast cancer DOI.
We describe the development of a rapid, noncontact imaging method, modulated imaging (MI), for quantitative, wide-field characterization of optical absorption and scattering properties of turbid media. MI utilizes principles of frequency-domain sampling and model-based analysis of the spatial modulation transfer function (s-MTF). We present and compare analytic diffusion and probabilistic Monte Carlo models of diffuse reflectance in the spatial frequency domain. Next, we perform MI measurements on tissue-simulating phantoms exhibiting a wide range of l values (0.5 mm to 3 mm) and (micro(s) (')micro(a)) ratios (8 to 500), reporting an overall accuracy of approximately 6% and 3% in absorption and reduced scattering parameters, respectively. Sampling of only two spatial frequencies, achieved with only three camera images, is found to be sufficient for accurate determination of the optical properties. We then perform MI measurements in an in vivo tissue system, demonstrating spatial mapping of the absorption and scattering optical contrast in a human forearm and dynamic measurements of a forearm during venous occlusion. Last, metrics of spatial resolution are assessed through both simulations and measurements of spatially heterogeneous phantoms.
During mitosis a monooriented chromosome oscillates toward and away from its associated spindle pole and may be positioned many micrometers from the pole at the time of anaphase. We tested the hypothesis of Pickett-Heaps et al. (Pickett-Heaps, J. D., D. H. Tippit, and K. R. Porter, 1982, Cell, 29:729-744) that this behavior is generated by the sister kinetochores of a chromosome interacting with, and moving in opposite direction along, the same set of polar microtubules. When the sister chromatids of a monooriented chromosome split at the onset of anaphase in newt lung cells, the proximal chromatid remains stationary or moves closer to the pole, with the kinetochore leading. During this time the distal chromatid moves a variable distance radially away from the pole, with one or both chromatid arms leading. Subsequent electron microscopy of these cells revealed that the kinetochore on the distal chromatid is free of microtubules. These results suggest that the distal kinetochore is not involved in the positioning of a monooriented chromosome relative to the spindle pole or in its oscillatory movements. To test this conclusion we used laser microsurgery to create monooriented chromosomes containing one kinetochore. Correlative light and electron microscopy revealed that chromosomes containing one kinetochore continue to undergo normal oscillations. Additional observations on normal and laser-irradiated monooriented chromosomes indicated that the chromosome does not change shape, and that the kinetochore region is not deformed, during movement away from the pole. Thus movement away from the pole during an oscillation does not appear to arise from a push generated by the single pole-facing kinetochore fiber, as postulated (Bajer, A. S., 1982, J. Cell Biol., 93:33-48). When the chromatid arms of a monooriented chromosome are cut free of the kinetochore, they are immediately ejected radially outward from the spindle pole at a constant velocity of 2 micron/min. This ejection velocity is similar to that of the outward movement of an oscillating chromosome. We conclude that the oscillations of a monooriented chromosome and its position relative to the spindle pole result from an imbalance between poleward pulling forces acting at the proximal kinetochore and an ejection force acting along the chromosome, which is generated within the aster and half-spindle.
We combine diffuse optical spectroscopy (DOS) and diffuse correlation spectroscopy (DCS) to noninvasively monitor early hemodynamic response to neoadjuvant chemotherapy in a breast cancer patient. The potential for early treatment monitoring is demonstrated. Within the first week of treatment (day 7) DOS revealed significant changes in tumor/normal contrast compared to pretreatment (day 0) tissue concentrations of deoxyhemoglobin (rctHHbT/N=69+/-21%), oxyhemoglobin (rctO2HbT/N=73+/-25%), total hemoglobin (rctTHbT/N=72+/-17%), and lipid concentration (rctLipidT/N=116+/-13%). Similarly, DCS found significant changes in tumor/normal blood flow contrast (rBFT/N=75+/-7% on day 7 with respect to day 0). Our observations suggest the combination of DCS and DOS enhances treatment monitoring compared to either technique alone. The hybrid approach also enables construction of indices reflecting tissue metabolic rate of oxygen, which may provide new insights about therapy mechanisms.
We hypothesized that the requirement for Ca(2+)-dependent exocytosis in cell-membrane repair is to provide an adequate lowering of membrane tension to permit membrane resealing. We used laser tweezers to form membrane tethers and measured the force of those tethers to estimate the membrane tension of Swiss 3T3 fibroblasts after membrane disruption and during resealing. These measurements show that, for fibroblasts wounded in normal Ca(2+) Ringer's solution, the membrane tension decreased dramatically after the wounding and resealing coincided with a decrease of approximately 60% of control tether force values. However, the tension did not decrease if cells were wounded in a low Ca(2+) Ringer's solution that inhibited both membrane resealing and exocytosis. When cells were wounded twice in normal Ca(2+) Ringer's solution, decreases in tension at the second wound were 2.3 times faster than at the first wound, correlating well with twofold faster resealing rates for repeated wounds. The facilitated resealing to a second wound requires a new vesicle pool, which is generated via a protein kinase C (PKC)-dependent and brefeldin A (BFA)-sensitive process. Tension decrease at the second wound was slowed or inhibited by PKC inhibitor or BFA. Lowering membrane tension by cytochalasin D treatment could substitute for exocytosis and could restore membrane resealing in low Ca(2+) Ringer's solution.
We describe a noncontact profile correction technique for quantitative, wide-field optical measurement of tissue absorption (microa) and reduced scattering (micros) coefficients, based on geometric correction of the sample's Lambertian (diffuse) reflectance intensity. Because the projection of structured light onto an object is the basis for both phase-shifting profilometry and modulated imaging, we were able to develop a single instrument capable of performing both techniques. In so doing, the surface of the three-dimensional object could be acquired and used to extract the object's optical properties. The optical properties of flat polydimethylsiloxane (silicone) phantoms with homogenous tissue-like optical properties were extracted, with and without profilometry correction, after vertical translation and tilting of the phantoms at various angles. Objects having a complex shape, including a hemispheric silicone phantom and human fingers, were acquired and similarly processed, with vascular constriction of a finger being readily detectable through changes in its optical properties. Using profilometry correction, the accuracy of extracted absorption and reduced scattering coefficients improved from two- to ten-fold for surfaces having height variations as much as 3 cm and tilt angles as high as 40 deg. These data lay the foundation for employing structured light for quantitative imaging during surgery.
Axonal transport mediated by microtubule-dependent motors is vital for neuronal function and viability. Selective sets of cargoes, including macromolecules and organelles, are transported long range along axons to specific destinations. Despite intensive studies focusing on the motor machinery, the regulatory mechanisms that control motor-cargo assembly are not well understood. Here we show that UNC-51/ATG1 kinase regulates the interaction between synaptic vesicles and motor complexes during transport in Drosophila. UNC-51 binds UNC-76, a kinesin heavy chain (KHC) adaptor protein. Loss of unc-51 or unc-76 leads to severe axonal transport defects in which synaptic vesicles are segregated from the motor complexes and accumulate along axons. Genetic studies show that unc-51 and unc-76 functionally interact in vivo to regulate axonal transport. UNC-51 phosphorylates UNC-76 on Ser(143), and the phosphorylated UNC-76 binds Synaptotagmin-1, a synaptic vesicle protein, suggesting that motor-cargo interactions are regulated in a phosphorylation-dependent manner. In addition, defective axonal transport in unc-76 mutants is rescued by a phospho-mimetic UNC-76, but not a phospho-defective UNC-76, demonstrating the essential role of UNC-76 Ser(143) phosphorylation in axonal transport. Thus, our data provide insight into axonal transport regulation that depends on the phosphorylation of adaptor proteins.
Approximately 8-20% of breast cancer patients receiving neoadjuvant chemotherapy fail to achieve a measurable response and endure toxic side effects without benefit. Most clinical and imaging measures of response are obtained several weeks after the start of therapy. Here, we report that functional hemodynamic and metabolic information acquired using a noninvasive optical imaging method on the first day after neoadjuvant chemotherapy treatment can discriminate nonresponding from responding patients. Diffuse optical spectroscopic imaging was used to measure absolute concentrations of oxyhemoglobin, deoxyhemoglobin, water, and lipid in tumor and normal breast tissue of 24 tumors in 23 patients with untreated primary breast cancer. Measurements were made before chemotherapy, on day 1 after the first infusion, and frequently during the first week of therapy. Various multidrug, multicycle regimens were used to treat patients. Diffuse optical spectroscopic imaging measurements were compared with final postsurgical pathologic response. A statistically significant increase, or flare, in oxyhemoglobin was observed in partial responding (n = 11) and pathologic complete responding tumors (n = 8) on day 1, whereas nonresponders (n = 5) showed no flare and a subsequent decrease in oxyhemoglobin on day 1. Oxyhemoglobin flare on day 1 was adequate to discriminate nonresponding tumors from responding tumors. Very early measures of chemotherapy response are clinically convenient and offer the potential to alter treatment strategies, resulting in improved patient outcomes.
Since blood flow is tightly coupled to the health status of biological tissue, several instruments have been developed to monitor blood flow and perfusion dynamics. One such instrument is laser speckle imaging. The goal of this study was to evaluate the use of two velocity distribution assumptions (Lorentzian- and Gaussian-based) to calculate speckle flow index (SFI) values. When the normalized autocorrelation function for the Lorentzian and Gaussian velocity distributions satisfy the same definition of correlation time, then the same velocity range is predicted for low speckle contrast (0 < C < 0.6) and predict different flow velocity range for high contrast. Our derived equations form the basis for simplified calculations of SFI values.
We present a wide-field method for obtaining three-dimensional images of turbid media. By projecting patterns of light of varying spatial frequencies on a sample, we reconstruct quantitative, depth resolved images of absorption contrast. Images are reconstructed using a fast analytic inversion formula and a novel correction to the diffusion approximation for increased accuracy near boundaries. The method provides more accurate quantification of optical absorption and higher resolution than standard diffuse reflectance measurements.
Tissue hemoglobin oxygen saturation (i.e., oxygenation) is a functional imaging endpoint that can reveal variations in tissue hypoxia, which may be predictive of pathologic response in subjects undergoing neoadjuvant chemotherapy. In this study, we used diffuse optical spectroscopic imaging (DOSI) to measure concentrations of oxyhemoglobin (ctO(2)Hb), deoxy-hemoglobin (ctHHb), total Hb (ctTHb = ctO(2)Hb + ctHHb), and oxygen saturation (stO(2) = ctO(2)Hb/ctTHb) in tumor and contralateral normal tissue from 41 patients with locally advanced primary breast cancer. Measurements were acquired before the start of neoadjuvant chemotherapy. Optically derived parameters were analyzed separately and in combination with clinical biomarkers to evaluate correlations with pathologic response. Discriminant analysis was conducted to determine the ability of optical and clinical biomarkers to classify subjects into response groups. Twelve (28.6%) of 42 tumors achieved pathologic complete response (pCR) and 30 (71.4%) were non-pCR. Tumor measurements in pCR subjects had higher stO(2) levels (median 77.8%) than those in non-pCR individuals (median 72.3%, P = 0.01). There were no significant differences in baseline ctO(2)Hb, ctHHb, and ctTHb between response groups. An optimal tumor oxygenation threshold of stO(2) = 76.7% was determined for pCR versus non-pCR (sensitivity = 75.0%, specificity = 73.3%). Multivariate discriminant analysis combining estrogen receptor staining and stO(2) further improved the classification of pCR versus non-pCR (sensitivity = 100%, specificity = 85.7%). These results show that elevated baseline tumor stO(2) are correlated with a pCR. Noninvasive DOSI scans combined with histopathology subtyping may aid in stratification of individual patients with breast cancer before neoadjuvant chemotherapy.
A significant reduction of renal mass results in proteinuria, glomerulosclerosis, and tubulointerstitial injury, culminating in end-stage chronic renal failure (CRF). The accumulation of lipids in the kidney can cause renal disease. Uptake of oxidized lipoproteins via scavenger receptors, reabsorption of filtered protein-bound lipids via the megalin-cubilin complex, and increased glucose load per nephron can promote lipid accumulation in glomerular, tubular, and interstitial cells in CRF. Cellular lipid homeostasis is regulated by lipid influx, synthesis, catabolism, and efflux. We examined lipid-regulatory factors in the remnant kidney of rats 11 wk after nephrectomy (CRF) or sham operation. CRF resulted in azotemia, proteinuria, lipid accumulation in the kidney, upregulation of megalin, cubilin, mediators of lipid influx (scavenger receptor class A and lectin-like oxidized receptor-1), lipid efflux (liver X receptor alpha/beta and ATP-binding cassette transporter), and fatty acid biosynthesis (carbohydrate-response element binding protein, fatty acid synthase, and acetyl-CoA carboxylase). However, factors involved in cholesterol biosynthesis (sterol regulatory element binding protein, 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl coenzyme A reductase, SCAP, Insig-1, and Insig-2) and fatty acid oxidation (peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor, acyl-CoA oxidase, and liver-type fatty acid binding protein) were reduced in the remnant kidney. Thus CRF results in heavy lipid accumulation in the remnant kidney, which is mediated by upregulation of pathways involved in tubular reabsorption of filtered protein-bound lipids, influx of oxidized lipoproteins and synthesis of fatty acids, and downregulation of pathways involved in fatty acid catabolism.
Absorption and reduced scattering coefficients of in-vivo human skin provide critical information on non-invasive skin diagnoses for aesthetic and clinical purposes. To date, very few in-vivo skin optical properties have been reported. Previously, we reported absorption and scattering properties of in-vivo skin in the wavelength range from 650 to 1000 nm using the diffusing probe in the "modified two-layer geometry". In this study, we determine the spectra of skin optical properties continuously in the range from 500 to 1000 nm. It was found that the concentration of chromophores, such as oxy-hemoglobin, deoxy-hemoglobin, and melanin, calculated based on the absorption spectra of eighteen subjects at wavelengths above and below 600 nm were distinct because of the inherent difference in the interrogation region. The scattering power, which is related to the average scatterer's size, demonstrates a clear contrast between skin phototypes, skin sites, and wavelengths. We also applied venous occlusion on forearms and found that the concentrations of oxy- and deoxy-hemoglobin as assessed at wavelengths above and below 600 nm were different. Our results suggest that diffuse reflectance techniques with the visible and near infrared light sources can be employed to investigate the hemodynamics and optical properties of upper dermis and lower dermis.
Structural changes in water molecules are related to physiological, anatomical and pathological properties of tissues. Near infrared (NIR) optical absorption methods are sensitive to water; however, detailed characterization of water in thick tissues is difficult to achieve because subtle spectral shifts can be obscured by multiple light scattering. In the NIR, a water absorption peak is observed around 975 nm. The precise NIR peak's shape and position are highly sensitive to water molecular disposition. We introduce a bound water index (BWI) that quantifies shifts observed in tissue water absorption spectra measured by broadband diffuse optical spectroscopy (DOS). DOS quantitatively measures light absorption and scattering spectra and therefore reveals bound water spectral shifts. BWI as a water state index was validated by comparing broadband DOS to magnetic resonance spectroscopy, diffusion-weighted MRI and conductivity in bound water tissue phantoms. Non-invasive DOS measurements of malignant and normal breast tissues performed in 18 subjects showed a significantly higher fraction of free water in malignant tissues (p < 0.0001) compared to normal tissues. BWI of breast cancer tissues inversely correlated with Nottingham-Bloom-Richardson histopathology scores. These results highlight broadband DOS sensitivity to molecular disposition of water and demonstrate the potential of BWI as a non-invasive in vivo index that correlates with tissue pathology.
Many diseases involve changes in the biomechanical properties of tissue, and there is a close correlation between tissue elasticity and pathology. We report on the development of a phase-resolved acoustic radiation force optical coherence elastography method (ARF-OCE) to evaluate the elastic properties of tissue. This method utilizes chirped acoustic radiation force to produce excitation along the sample's axial direction, and it uses phase-resolved optical coherence tomography (OCT) to measure the vibration of the sample. Under 500-Hz square wave modulated ARF signal excitation, phase change maps of tissue mimicking phantoms are generated by the ARF-OCE method, and the resulting Young's modulus ratio is correlated with a standard compression test. The results verify that this technique could efficiently measure sample elastic properties accurately and quantitatively. Furthermore, a three-dimensional ARF-OCE image of the human atherosclerotic coronary artery is obtained. The result indicates that our dynamic phase-resolved ARF-OCE method can delineate tissues with different mechanical properties.
The accumulation of lipids, including cholesterol, in the arterial wall plays a key role in the pathogenesis of atherosclerosis. Although several advances have been made in the detection and imaging of these lipid structures in plaque lesions, their morphology and composition have yet to be fully elucidated, particularly in different animal models of disease. To address this issue, we analyzed lipid morphology and composition in the atherosclerotic plaques of two animal models of disease, the low density lipoprotein receptor-deficient (LDLR(-/-)) mouse and the ApoE lipoprotein-deficient (ApoE(-/-)) mouse, utilizing hyperspectral coherent anti-Stokes Raman scattering (CARS) microscopy in combination with principal component analysis (PCA). Hyperspectral CARS imaging revealed lipid-rich macrophage cells and condensed needle-shaped and plate-shaped lipid crystal structures in both mice. Spectral analysis with PCA and comparison to spectra of pure cholesterol and cholesteryl ester derivatives further revealed these lipid structures to be pure cholesterol crystals, which were predominantly observed in the ApoE(-/-) mouse model. These results illustrate the ability of hyperspectral CARS imaging in combination with multivariate analysis to characterize atherosclerotic lipid morphology and composition with chemical specificity, and consequently, provide new insight into the formation of cholesterol crystal structures in atherosclerotic plaque lesions.
A novel swept-laser-based Fourier-domain optical coherence tomography system using an electro-optic phase modulator was demonstrated. The imaging range was doubled by cancellation of the mirror image. The elimination of low-frequency noises resulting from dc and autocorrelation terms increased the sensitivity by 20 dB.
Cellularized collagen gels are a common model in tissue engineering, but the relationship between the microstructure and bulk mechanical properties is only partially understood. Multiphoton microscopy (MPM) is an ideal non-invasive tool for examining collagen microstructure, cellularity and crosslink content in these gels. In order to identify robust image parameters that characterize microstructural determinants of the bulk elastic modulus, we performed serial MPM and mechanical tests on acellular and cellularized (normal human lung fibroblasts) collagen hydrogels, before and after glutaraldehyde crosslinking. Following gel contraction over 16 days, cellularized collagen gel content approached that of native connective tissues (∼200 mg ml⁻¹). Young's modulus (E) measurements from acellular collagen gels (range 0.5-12 kPa) exhibited a power-law concentration dependence (range 3-9 mg ml⁻¹) with exponents from 2.1 to 2.2, similar to other semiflexible biopolymer networks such as fibrin and actin. In contrast, cellularized collagen gel stiffness (range 0.5-27 kPa) produced concentration-dependent exponents of 0.7 uncrosslinked and 1.1 crosslinked (range ∼5-200 mg ml⁻¹). The variation in E of cellularized collagen hydrogels can be explained by a power-law dependence on robust image parameters: either the second harmonic generation (SHG) and two-photon fluorescence (TPF) (matrix component) skewness (R²=0.75, exponents of -1.0 and -0.6, respectively); or alternatively the SHG and TPF (matrix component) speckle contrast (R²=0.83, exponents of -0.7 and -1.8, respectively). Image parameters based on the cellular component of TPF signal did not improve the fits. The concentration dependence of E suggests enhanced stress relaxation in cellularized vs. acellular gels. SHG and TPF image skewness and speckle contrast from cellularized collagen gels can predict E by capturing mechanically relevant information on collagen fiber, cell and crosslink density.
A novel endoscopic optical coherence tomography probe was designed and constructed with a 1.9-mm microelectromechanical system (MEMS) motor. The new MEMS endoscopic probe design eliminates the need to couple the rotational energy from the proximal to the distal end of the probe. Furthermore, the endoscopic probe's sheath and fiber have the advantages of having a much smaller diameter and being more flexible than traditional endoscopes since no reinforcement is needed to couple the rotational torque. At the distal end, a prism mounted on a micromotor deflects the light rays to create a transverse circular-scanning pathway. Because our MEMS scanner does not require the coupling of a rotational single-mode fiber, a high scanning speed is possible while eliminating unstable optical signals caused by nonuniform coupling.
Methods for tuning extracellular matrix (ECM) mechanics in 3D cell culture that rely on increasing the concentration of either protein or cross-linking molecules fail to control important parameters such as pore size, ligand density, and molecular diffusivity. Alternatively, ECM stiffness can be modulated independently from protein concentration by mechanically loading the ECM. We have developed a novel device for generating stiffness gradients in naturally derived ECMs, where stiffness is tuned by inducing strain, while local mechanical properties are directly determined by laser tweezers based active microrheology (AMR). Hydrogel substrates polymerized within 35 mm diameter Petri dishes are strained non-uniformly by the precise rotation of an embedded cylindrical post, and exhibit a position-dependent stiffness with little to no modulation of local mesh geometry. Here we present the device in the context of fibrin hydrogels. First AMR is used to directly measure local micromechanics in unstrained hydrogels of increasing fibrin concentration. Changes in stiffness are then mapped within our device, where fibrin concentration is held constant. Fluorescence confocal imaging and orbital particle tracking are used to quantify structural changes in fibrin on the micro and nano levels respectively. The micromechanical strain stiffening measured by microrheology is not accompanied by ECM microstructural changes under our applied loads, as measured by confocal microscopy. However, super-resolution orbital tracking reveals nanostructural straightening, lengthening, and reduced movement of fibrin fibers. Furthermore, we show that aortic smooth muscle cells cultured within our device are morphologically sensitive to the induced mechanical gradient. Our results demonstrate a powerful cell culture tool that can be used in the study of mechanical effects on cellular physiology in naturally derived 3D ECM tissues.
The ability to quantitatively determine tissue fluorescence is of interest for the purpose of better understanding the details of photodynamic therapy of skin cancer. In particular, we are interested in quantifying protoporphyrin IX (PpIX) in vivo. We present a method of correcting fluorescence for effects of native tissue absorption and scattering properties in a spatially resolved manner that preserves the resolution of the fluorescence imaging system, based off a homogeneous representation of tissue. Validation was performed using a series of liquid turbid phantoms having varying concentrations of absorber, scatterer, and fluorophore (PpIX). Through the quantification of tissue optical properties via spatial frequency domain imaging, an empirical model based on Monte Carlo simulations was deployed to successfully decouple the effects of absorption and scattering from fluorescence. From this we were able to deduce the concentration of the PpIX to within 0.2 μg/ml of the known concentration. This method was subsequently applied to the determination of PpIX concentration from in vivo normal skin where the model-based correction determined a concentration of 1.6 μg/ml, which is in agreement with literature.
In this paper, we analyze the retinal and choroidal blood vasculature in the posterior segment of the human eye with optimized color Doppler and Doppler variance optical coherence tomography. Depth-resolved structure, color Doppler and Doppler variance images are compared. Blood vessels down to the capillary level were detected and visualized with the optimized optical coherence color Doppler and Doppler variance method. For in-vivo imaging of human eyes, bulk-motion induced bulk phase must be identified and removed before using the color Doppler method. It was found that the Doppler variance method is not sensitive to bulk-motion and the method can be used without correcting the bulk-motion when the sample-movement-induced velocity changes gradually. Real-time processing and displaying of the structure and blood vessel images are very interesting and is demonstrated using a dual quad-core Central Processing Unit (CPU) workstation. High resolution images of choroidal capillary of the vasculature network with phased-resolved color Doppler and Doppler variance are shown.