16 February 2005 Raman spectroscopy and imaging of whole functional cells
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With the advent of Raman spectrometers based on CCD array detectors, instruments have been coupled to optical microscopes leading to all the advantages of bright field microscopy with the added advantage of a direct chemical probe. The primary biological solvent, water, is a weak Raman scatterer and so these instruments can now be used to investigate the chemistry of living systems at spatial resolutions of 1 μm and below. We have developed techniques that allow us to study functional red blood cells and monitor the exchange of ligands and the development and chemistry of disease processes. These techniques take advantage of Aggregated Enhanced Raman Spectroscopy, which enables us to use the haem group of the haemoglobins and related haem pigments, such as the malarial pigment haemozoin, as a sensitive probe for changes in oxidation state, spin state and electronic structure. We have used the Raman microprobe to investigate the effect of drugs such as quinoline on the food vacuole of the malarial parasite in vivo. Sickle cell disease affects 1 out of 600 African American births and is caused by a mutant form (β6 glu→val) of haemoglobin (HbS). HbS polymerizes and forms higher order aggregates under hypoxic conditions, leading to distortion and rigidity of the erythrocyte. These rigid cells can block the microvasculature resulting in tissue ischaemia, organ damage, and ultimately death. The sensitivity of the Raman technique to haem aggregation provides a tool with which we can analyse the changes that occur between normal and sickle cells.
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Don McNaughton, Janelle Lim, Larissa Hammer, Steven J. Langford, Jocelyn Collie, and Bayden R. Wood "Raman spectroscopy and imaging of whole functional cells", Proc. SPIE 5651, Biomedical Applications of Micro- and Nanoengineering II, (16 February 2005); doi: 10.1117/12.582289; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.582289

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