Optical coherence tomography (OCT) has become standard in retinal imaging at the pre-clinical and clinical level by allowing non-invasive, three-dimensional imaging of the tissue structure. However, OCT lacks specificity to contrast agents that could be used for in vivo molecular imaging. We have performed in vivo photothermal optical coherence tomography (PT-OCT) of targeted gold nanorods in the mouse retina after the mice were injected systemically with the contrast agent. To our knowledge, we are the first to perform PT-OCT in the eye and image targeted gold nanorods with this technology. As a model of age-related wet macular degeneration, lesions were induced by laser photocoagulation in each mouse retina (n=12 eyes). Untargeted and targeted (anti-mouse CD102 antibody, labeling neovasculature) gold nanorods (peak absorption λ=750nm) were injected intravenously by tail-vein injection five days after lesion induction, and imaged the same day with PT-OCT. Our instrument is a spectral domain OCT system (λ=860nm) with a Titanium:Sapphire laser (λ=750nm) added to the beam path using a 50:50 coupler to heat the gold nanorods. We acquired PT-OCT volumes of one lesion per mouse eye. There was a significant increase in photothermal intensity per unit area of the lesion in the targeted gold nanorods group versus the saline control group and the untargeted gold nanorods group. This experiment demonstrates the feasibility of PT-OCT to image the distribution of molecular contrast agents in the mouse retina, including in highly scattering lesions. In the future we will use this method to identify new biomarkers linked with retinal disease.
Maryse Lapierre-Landry, Andrew Y. Gordon, John S. Penn, and Melissa C. Skala, "In vivo photothermal optical coherence tomography of gold nanorods in the mouse eye (Conference Presentation)," Proc. SPIE 10045, Ophthalmic Technologies XXVII, 100450E (Presented at SPIE BiOS: January 28, 2017; Published: 16 May 2017); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2252847.5370275044001.
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