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Published December 15, 2010 | Published
Journal Article Open

In vivo label-free photoacoustic microscopy of cell nuclei by excitation of DNA and RNA


Imaging of cell nuclei plays a critical role in cancer diagnosis and prognosis. To image noninvasively cell nuclei in vivo without staining, we developed UV photoacoustic microscopy (UV-PAM), in which 266nm wavelength UV light excites unlabeled DNA and RNA in cell nuclei to produce photoacoustic waves. We applied UV-PAM to ex vivo imaging of cell nuclei in a mouse lip and a mouse small intestine and to in vivo imaging of the cell nuclei in the mouse skin. The UV-PAM images of unstained cell nuclei match the optical micrographs of the histologically stained cell nuclei. Given intrinsic optical contrast and high spatial resolution, in vivo label-free UV-PAM has potential for unique biological and clinical application.

Additional Information

© 2010 Optical Society of America. Received September 21, 2010; revised November 4, 2010; accepted November 8, 2010; posted November 16, 2010 (Doc. ID 135478); published December 9, 2010. The authors thank Ruimin Chen for ultrasonic transducer fabrication, Chris Favazza for data acquisition software, and Song Hu for data processing. This work was sponsored in part by National Institutes of Health (NIH) grants R01 EB000712, R01 EB008085, R01 CA134539, and U54 CA136398. L. Wang has a financial interest in Microphotoacoustics, Inc. and Endra, Inc., which, however, did not support this work.

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