Melanosome is an organelle for synthesis, storage and transport the melanin, a major intrinsic pigment. In retinal pigmented epithelium (RPE), it is generally accepted that melanosome plays a critical photoprotective role, and it has been shown that that loss of melanin from RPE could be an early event towards age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Meanwhile, melanosome is also the major contributor to the optical properties of RPE, due to its high refractive index and the strong optical absorption of melanin. Therefore, a characterization and understanding the optical properties of melanin is of great interest to relate the physical and chemical changes of melanosomes, and their fundamental roles in RPE-related retinal diseases such as AMD. Here, we present a theoretical study to characterize the full optical properties of melanosomes. We modeled melanosomes as uniformly melanin filled spheroids, based on their morphology under transmission electron microscopy. T-matrix method was used to simulate the wavelength dependent total scattering, backscattering, absorption cross sections, and anisotropy factor. We verified our simulation on backscattering cross section of melanosome by comparing optical coherence tomography taken in visible and NIR ranges. In addition, we studied the changes of the optical properties of melanosomes on melanin bleaching. The results suggested a spectroscopic mechanism for optical detection of melanin loss by inverse spectroscopic optical coherence tomography.
Ji Yi and Lei Zhang, "Wavelength-dependent optical properties of melanosomes in retinal pigmented epithelium (Conference Presentation)," Proc. SPIE 10075, Biophysics, Biology and Biophotonics II: the Crossroads, 100750A (Presented at SPIE BiOS: January 29, 2017; Published: 24 April 2017); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2252693.5381802484001.
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