The mechanical forces that living cells experience represent an important framework in the determination of a range of intricate cellular functions and processes. Current insight into cell mechanics is typically provided by in vitro measurement systems; for example, atomic force microscopy (AFM) measurements are performed on cells in culture or, at best, on freshly excised tissue. Optical techniques, such as Brillouin microscopy and optical elastography, have been used for ex vivo and in situ imaging, recently achieving cellular-scale resolution. The utility of these techniques in cell mechanics lies in quick, three-dimensional and label-free mechanical imaging. Translation of these techniques toward minimally invasive in vivo imaging would provide unprecedented capabilities in tissue characterization. Here, we take the first steps along this path by incorporating a gradient-index micro-endoscope into an ultrahigh resolution optical elastography system. Using this endoscope, a lateral resolution of 2 µm is preserved over an extended depth-of-field of 80 µm, achieved by Bessel beam illumination. We demonstrate this combined system by imaging stiffness of a silicone phantom containing stiff inclusions and a freshly excised murine liver tissue. Additionally, we test this system on murine ribs in situ. We show that our approach can provide high quality extended depth-of-field images through an endoscope and has the potential to measure cell mechanics deep in tissue. Eventually, we believe this tool will be capable of studying biological processes and disease progression in vivo.
Qi Fang, Andrea Curatolo, Philip Wijesinghe, Juliana Hamzah, Ruth Ganss, Peter B. Noble, Karol Karnowski, David D. Sampson, Jun Ki Kim, Wei M. Lee, and Brendan F. Kennedy, "Ultrahigh resolution optical coherence elastography combined with a rigid micro-endoscope (Conference Presentation)," Proc. SPIE 10053, Optical Coherence Tomography and Coherence Domain Optical Methods in Biomedicine XXI, 1005309 (Presented at SPIE BiOS: January 30, 2017; Published: 19 April 2017); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2254815.5371868823001.
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