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Journal of Biomedical Optics

Intracellular imaging of docosanol in living cells by coherent anti-Stokes Raman scattering microscopy
Author(s): Sixian You; Yuan Liu; Zane A. Arp; Youbo Zhao; Eric J. Chaney; Marina Marjanovic; Stephen A. Boppart
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Paper Abstract

Docosanol is an over-the-counter topical agent that has proved to be one of the most effective therapies for treating herpes simplex labialis. However, the mechanism by which docosanol suppresses lesion formation remains poorly understood. To elucidate its mechanism of action, we investigated the uptake of docosanol in living cells using coherent anti-Stokes Raman scattering microscopy. Based on direct visualization of the deuterated docosanol, we observed highly concentrated docosanol inside living cells 24 h after drug treatment. In addition, different spatial patterns of drug accumulation were observed in different cell lines. In keratinocytes, which are the targeted cells of docosanol, the drug molecules appeared to be docking at the periphery of the cell membrane. In contrast, the drug molecules in fibroblasts appeared to accumulate in densely packed punctate regions throughout the cytoplasm. These results suggest that this molecular imaging approach is suitable for the longitudinal tracking of drug molecules in living cells to identify cell-specific trafficking and may also have implications for elucidating the mechanism by which docosanol suppresses lesion formation.

Paper Details

Date Published: 25 July 2017
PDF: 4 pages
J. Biomed. Opt. 22(7) 070502 doi: 10.1117/1.JBO.22.7.070502
Published in: Journal of Biomedical Optics Volume 22, Issue 7
Show Author Affiliations
Sixian You, Univ. of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (United States)
Yuan Liu, Univ. of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (United States)
Zane A. Arp, GlaxoSmithKline (United States)
Youbo Zhao, Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology (United States)
Eric J. Chaney, Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology (United States)
Marina Marjanovic, Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology (United States)
Univ. of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (United States)
Stephen A. Boppart, Univ. of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (United States)


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