Chemical sun filters are commonly used as active ingredients in sunscreens due to their efficient absorption of ultraviolet (UV) radiation. Yet, it is known that these compounds can photochemically react with UV light and generate reactive oxygen species and oxidative stress in vitro, though this has yet to be validated in vivo. One label-free approach to probe oxidative stress is to measure and compare the relative endogenous fluorescence generated by cellular coenzymes nicotinamide adenine dinucleotides and flavin adenine dinucleotides. However, chemical sun filters are fluorescent, with emissive properties that contaminate endogenous fluorescent signals. To accurately distinguish the source of fluorescence in ex vivo skin samples treated with chemical sun filters, fluorescence lifetime imaging microscopy data were processed on a pixel-by-pixel basis using a non-Euclidean separation algorithm based on Mahalanobis distance and validated on simulated data. Applying this method, ex vivo samples exhibited a small oxidative shift when exposed to sun filters alone, though this shift was much smaller than that imparted by UV irradiation. Given the need for investigative tools to further study the clinical impact of chemical sun filters in patients, the reported methodology may be applied to visualize chemical sun filters and measure oxidative stress in patients’ skin.
We report on the nature of multiphoton excited fluorescence observed from human erythrocytes (red blood cells RBC's) and their "ghosts" following 800nm sub-15 fs excitation. The detected optical signal is assigned as two-photon excited fluorescence from hemoglobin. Our findings are supported by wavelength-resolved fluorescence lifetime decay measurements using time-correlated single photon counting system from RBC's, their ghosts as well as in vitro samples of various fluorophores including riboflavin, NADH, NAD(P)H, hemoglobin. We find that low-energy and short-duration pulses allow two-photon imaging of RBC’s, but longer more intense pulses lead to their destruction.