NADH and FAD are important endogenous fluorescent coenzymes participating in key enzymatic reactions of cellular metabolism. While fluorescence intensities of NADH and FAD have been used to determine the redox state of cells and tissues, this simple approach breaks down in the case of deep-tissue intravital imaging due to depth- and wavelength-dependent light absorption and scattering. To circumvent this limitation, our research focuses on fluorescence lifetimes of two-photon excited NADH and FAD emission to study the metabolic state of live tissues. In our custom-built scanning microscope we combine tunable femtosecond Ti:sapphire laser (operating at 740 nm for NADH excitation and 890 nm for FAD excitation), two GaAsP hybrid detectors for registering individual fluorescence photons and two Becker and Hickl time correlator boards for high precision lifetime measurements. Together with our rigorous FLIM analysis approach (including image segmentation, multi-exponential decay fitting and detailed statistical analysis) we are able to detect metabolic changes in cancer xenografts (human pancreatic cancer MPanc96 cells injected subcutaneously into the ear of an immunodeficient nude mouse), relative to surrounding healthy tissue. Advantageously, with the same instrumentation we can also take high-resolution and high-contrast images of second harmonic signal (SHG) originating from collagen fibers of both the healthy skin and the growing tumor. The combination of metabolic measurements (NADH and FAD lifetime) and morphological information (collagen SHG) allows us to follow the tumor growth in live mouse model and the changes in tumor microenvironment.
Zdenek Svindrych, Tianxiong Wang, Song Hu, and Ammasi Periasamy, "Fluorescence lifetime imaging of endogenous molecules in live mouse cancer models (Conference Presentation)," Proc. SPIE 10069, Multiphoton Microscopy in the Biomedical Sciences XVII, 100691M (Presented at SPIE BiOS: January 31, 2017; Published: 24 April 2017); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2257691.5380018910001.
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