Background and Objectives: We have previously demonstrated the efficacy of a non-invasive, non-contact, fast and
simple but robust fluorescence imaging (u-FEI) method to monitor the healing of skin wounds in vitro. This system can
image highly-proliferating cellular processes (295/340 nm excitation/emission wavelengths) to study epithelialization in
a cultured wound model. The objective of the current work is to evaluate the suitability of u-FEI for monitoring wound
re-epithelialization in vivo.
Study Design: Full-thickness wounds were created in the tail of rats and imaged weekly using u-FEI at 295/340nm
excitation/emission wavelengths. Histology was used to investigate the correlation between the spatial distribution and
intensity of fluorescence and the extent of wound epithelialization. In addition, the expression of the nuclear protein
Ki67 was used to confirm the association between the proliferation of keratinocyte cells and the intensity of
Results: Keratinocytes forming neo-epidermis exhibited higher fluorescence intensity than the keratinocytes not
involved in re-epithelialization. In full-thickness wounds the fluorescence first appeared at the wound edge where
keratinocytes initiated the epithelialization process. Fluorescence intensity increased towards the center as the
keratinocytes partially covered the wound. As the wound healed, fluorescence decreased at the edges and was present
only at the center as the keratinocytes completely covered the wound at day 21. Histology demonstrated that changes in
fluorescence intensity from the 295/340nm band corresponded to newly formed epidermis.
Conclusions: u-FEI at 295/340nm allows visualization of proliferating keratinocyte cells during re-epithelialization of
wounds in vivo, potentially providing a quantitative, objective and simple method for evaluating wound closure in the
Ying Wang, Antonio Ortega-Martinez, Juan Pablo Padilla-Martinez, Maura Williams, William Farinelli, R. Rox Anderson, and Walfre Franco, "In vivo assessment of wound re-epithelialization by UV fluorescence excitation imaging," Proc. SPIE 10037, Photonics in Dermatology and Plastic Surgery, 100370R (Presented at SPIE BiOS: January 29, 2017; Published: 6 February 2017); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2253934.
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