Optical projection tomography is a new optical imaging method for visualizing small biological specimens in three dimension. The most important advantage of OPT is to fill the gap between MRI and confocal microscope for the specimen having the range of 1-10 mm. Thus, it has been mainly used for whole-mount small animals and developmental study since this imaging modality was developed. The ability of OPT delivering anatomical and functional information of relatively large tissue in 3D has made it a promising platform in biomedical research. Recently, the potential of OPT spans its coverage to cellular scale. Even though there are increasing demand to obtain better understanding of cellular dynamics, only few studies to visualize cellular structure, shape, size and functional morphology over tissue has been investigated in existing OPT system due to its limited field of view.
In this study, we develop a novel optical imaging system for 3D cellular imaging with OPT integrated with dynamic focusing technique. Our tomographic setup has great potential to be used for identifying cell characteristic in tissue because it can provide selective contrast on dynamic focal plane allowing for fluorescence as well as absorption. While the dominant contrast of optical imaging technique is to use the fluorescence for detecting certain target only, the newly developed OPT system will offer considerable advantages over currently available method when imaging cellar molecular dynamics by permitting contrast variation. By achieving multi-contrast, it is expected for this new imaging system to play an important role in delivering better cytological information to pathologist.