Rhodopsin, the light-sensing molecule in the outer segments of rod photoreceptors, is responsible for converting light into neuronal signals in a process known as phototransduction. Rhodopsin is thus a functional biomarker for rod photoreceptors. We developed a novel technology based on visible-light optical coherence tomography (VIS-OCT) for in vivo molecular imaging of rhodopsin. The depth resolution of OCT allows the visualization of the location where the change of optical absorption occurs and provides a potentially accurate assessment of rhodopsin content by segmentation of the image at the location. A broadband supercontinuum laser, whose filtered output was centered at 520 nm, was used as the illuminating light source. To test the capabilities of the system on rhodopsin mapping we imaged the retina of albino rats. The rats were dark adapted before imaging. An integrated near infrared OCT was used to guide the alignment in dark. VIS-OCT three-dimensional images were then acquired under dark- and light- adapted states sequentially. Rhodopsin distribution was calculated from the differential image. The rhodopsin distributions can be displayed in both en face view and depth-resolved cross-sectional image. Rhodopsin OCT can be used to quantitatively image rhodopsin distribution and thus assess the distribution of functional rod photoreceptors in the retina. Rhodopsin OCT can bring significant impact into ophthalmic clinics by providing a tool for the diagnosis and severity assessment of a variety of retinal conditions.
Zahra Nafra, Tan Liu, and Shuliang Jiao, "Rhodopsin molecular contrast imaging by optical coherence tomography for functional assessment of photoreceptors
(Conference Presentation)," Proc. SPIE 9697, Optical Coherence Tomography and Coherence Domain Optical Methods in Biomedicine XX, 969720 (Presented at SPIE BiOS: February 17, 2016; Published: 26 April 2016); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2214561.4848635719001.
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