Coregistered autofluorescence-optical coherence tomography imaging of human lung sections

J Biomed Opt. 2014 Mar;19(3):36022. doi: 10.1117/1.JBO.19.3.036022.


Autofluorescence (AF) imaging can provide valuable information about the structural and metabolic state of tissue that can be useful for elucidating physiological and pathological processes. Optical coherence tomography (OCT) provides high resolution detailed information about tissue morphology. We present coregistered AF-OCT imaging of human lung sections. Adjacent hematoxylin and eosin stained histological sections are used to identify tissue structures observed in the OCT images. Segmentation of these structures in the OCT images allowed determination of relative AF intensities of human lung components. Since the AF imaging was performed on tissue sections perpendicular to the airway axis, the results show the AF signal originating from the airway wall components free from the effects of scattering and absorption by overlying layers as is the case during endoscopic imaging. Cartilage and dense connective tissue (DCT) are found to be the dominant fluorescing components with the average cartilage AF intensity about four times greater than that of DCT. The epithelium, lamina propria, and loose connective tissue near basement membrane generate an order of magnitude smaller AF signal than the cartilage fluorescence.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cartilage / chemistry
  • Histological Techniques / methods*
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted / methods*
  • Lung* / anatomy & histology
  • Lung* / chemistry
  • Optical Imaging / methods*
  • Signal Processing, Computer-Assisted
  • Tomography, Optical Coherence / methods*