Two-photon Microscopy of Deep Intravital Tissues and Its Merits in Clinical Research

J Microsc. 2010 Apr 1;238(1):1-20. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2818.2009.03330.x.


Multiphoton excitation laser scanning microscopy, relying on the simultaneous absorption of two or more photons by a molecule, is one of the most exciting recent developments in biomedical imaging. Thanks to its superior imaging capability of deeper tissue penetration and efficient light detection, this system becomes more and more an inspiring tool for intravital bulk tissue imaging. Two-photon excitation microscopy including 2-photon fluorescence and second harmonic generated signal microscopy is the most common multiphoton microscopic application. In the present review we take diverse ocular tissues as intravital samples to demonstrate the advantages of this approach. Experiments with registration of intracellular 2-photon fluorescence and extracellular collagen second harmonic generated signal microscopy in native ocular tissues are focused. Data show that the in-tandem combination of 2-photon fluorescence and second harmonic generated signal microscopy as two-modality microscopy allows for in situ co-localization imaging of various microstructural components in the whole-mount deep intravital tissues. New applications and recent developments of this high technology in clinical studies such as 2-photon-controlled drug release, in vivo drug screening and administration in skin and kidney, as well as its uses in tumourous tissues such as melanoma and glioma, in diseased lung, brain and heart are additionally reviewed. Intrinsic emission two-modal 2-photon microscopy/tomography, acting as an efficient and sensitive non-injurious imaging approach featured by high contrast and subcellular spatial resolution, has been proved to be a promising tool for intravital deep tissue imaging and clinical studies. Given the level of its performance, we believe that the non-linear optical imaging technique has tremendous potentials to find more applications in biomedical fundamental and clinical research in the near future.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biomedical Research / methods*
  • Brain / ultrastructure
  • Brain Chemistry
  • Glioma / chemistry
  • Glioma / ultrastructure
  • Humans
  • Kidney / chemistry
  • Kidney / ultrastructure
  • Lung / chemistry
  • Lung / ultrastructure
  • Melanoma / chemistry
  • Melanoma / ultrastructure
  • Microscopy, Fluorescence / methods*
  • Myocardium / chemistry
  • Myocardium / ultrastructure
  • Sclera / chemistry
  • Sclera / ultrastructure
  • Skin / chemistry
  • Skin / ultrastructure