Journal of Biomedical Optics • Open AccessExtension of the concept of an anomalous water component to images of T-cell organelles
Microscopic images of a living cell are the main source of information on its functional state. Modern interference microscopy techniques allow the numerical parameters of cell images to be obtained with an accuracy not available with other methods. Quantitative analysis of phase images of T lymphocytes (TCs) in different functional states demonstrated that variations of the properties of intracellular water should be taken into account. This conclusion agrees with the current view that the physical parameters of water, including the refractive index (RI) of a water layer, depend on the hydrophilicity and other characteristics of the adjacent surface. Application of this concept to phase images of TCs showed that the contribution of the fourth phase of water (4-water) or the structured water component, which has an increased RI, should be considered. The proportion of 4-water depends on the functional state of the cell determined by the culture medium composition. Normally, the proportion of 4-water in organelles is as high as 30%; it is considerably lower in organelles of cells with inhibited metabolism.