Multimodal tissue imaging: using coregistered optical tomography data to estimate tissue autofluorescence intensity change due to scattering and absorption by neoplastic epithelial cells

J Biomed Opt. 2013 Oct;18(10):106007. doi: 10.1117/1.JBO.18.10.106007.


Autofluorescence (AF) imaging provides valuable information about the structural and chemical states of tissue that can be used for early cancer detection. Optical scattering and absorption of excitation and emission light by the epithelium can significantly affect observed tissue AF intensity. Determining the effect of epithelial attenuation on the AF intensity could lead to a more accurate interpretation of AF intensity. We propose to use optical coherence tomography coregistered with AF imaging to characterize the AF attenuation due to the epithelium. We present imaging results from three vital tissue models, each consisting of a three-dimensional tissue culture grown from one of three epithelial cell lines (HCT116, OVCAR8, and MCF7) and immobilized on a fluorescence substrate. The AF loss profiles in the tissue layer show two different regimes, each approximately linearly decreasing with thickness. For thin cell cultures (<300 μm), the AF signal changes as AF(t)/AF(0)=1-1.3t (t is the thickness in millimeter). For thick cell cultures (>400 μm), the AF loss profiles have different intercepts but similar slopes. The data presented here can be used to estimate AF loss due to a change in the epithelial layer thickness and potentially to reduce AF bronchoscopy false positives due to inflammation and non-neoplastic epithelial thickening.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Absorption
  • HCT116 Cells
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted
  • MCF-7 Cells
  • Models, Biological*
  • Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Optical Imaging / methods*
  • Respiratory Mucosa / cytology
  • Scattering, Radiation
  • Tissue Culture Techniques
  • Tomography, Optical Coherence / methods*