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Journal of Biomedical Optics

Effect of optical tissue clearing on spatial resolution and sensitivity of bioluminescence imaging
Author(s): Eric Duco Jansen; Patrick M. Pickett; Mark A. Mackanos; Jack Virostko
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Paper Abstract

In vivo bioluminescence imaging (BLI) is a powerful method of in vivo molecular imaging based on the use of optically active luciferase reporter genes. Although this method provides superior sensitivity relative to other in vivo imaging methods, spatial resolution is poor due to light scattering. The objective of this study was to use hyperosmotic agents to reduce the scattering coefficient and hence improve spatial resolution of the BLI method. A diffusing fiber tip was used to simulate an isotropic point source of bioluminescence emission (550 to 650 nm). Mouse skin was treated in vitro and in vivo with glycerol (50%, 30 min) and measurements of optical properties, and imaging photon counts were made before, during, and after application of glycerol to the skin sample. Glycerol application to mouse skin had little effect on the absorption coefficient but reduced the reduced scattering coefficient by more than one order of magnitude. This effect was reversible. Consequently, the spot size (i.e., spatial resolution) of the bioluminescence point source imaged through the skin decreased by a factor of 2 (550-nm light) to 3 (650-nm light) after 30 min. Simultaneously, an almost twofold decrease in the amount of light detected by the BLI system was observed, despite the fact that total transmission increased 1.7 times. We have shown here that multiply scattered light is responsible for both observations. We have shown that applying a hyperosmotic clearing agent to the skin of small rodents has the potential to improve spatial resolution of BLI owing to a reduction in the reduced scattering coefficient in the skin by one order of magnitude. However, reducing the scattering coefficient reduces the amount of light reaching the camera due to a reduction in the amount of multiply scattered light that reaches the camera aperture and thus reducing the sensitivity of the method.

Paper Details

Date Published: 1 July 2006
PDF: 7 pages
J. Biomed. Opt. 11(4) 041119 doi: 10.1117/1.2337651
Published in: Journal of Biomedical Optics Volume 11, Issue 4
Show Author Affiliations
Eric Duco Jansen, Vanderbilt Univ. (United States)
Patrick M. Pickett, Vanderbilt Univ. (United States)
Mark A. Mackanos, Stanford Univ. (United States)
Jack Virostko, Vanderbilt Univ. (United States)


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