Clinical nonlinear laser imaging of human skin: a review

Biomed Res Int. 2014;2014:903589. doi: 10.1155/2014/903589. Epub 2014 Aug 28.

Abstract

Nonlinear optical microscopy has the potential of being used in vivo as a noninvasive imaging modality for both epidermal and dermal imaging. This paper reviews the capabilities of nonlinear microscopy as a noninvasive high-resolution tool for clinical skin inspection. In particular, we show that two-photon fluorescence microscopy can be used as a diagnostic tool for characterizing epidermal layers by means of a morphological examination. Additional functional information on the metabolic state of cells can be provided by measuring the fluorescence decay of NADH. This approach allows differentiating epidermal layers having different structural and cytological features and has the potential of diagnosing pathologies in a very early stage. Regarding therapy follow-up, we demonstrate that nonlinear microscopy could be successfully used for monitoring the effect of a treatment. In particular, combined two-photon fluorescence and second-harmonic generation microscopy were used in vivo for monitoring collagen remodeling after microablative fractional laser resurfacing and for quantitatively monitoring psoriasis on the basis of the morphology of epidermal cells and dermal papillae. We believe that the described microscopic modalities could find in the near future a stable place in a clinical dermatological setting for quantitative diagnostic purposes and as a monitoring method for various treatments.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Dermoscopy / methods*
  • Humans
  • Image Enhancement / methods*
  • Imaging, Three-Dimensional / methods*
  • Lasers*
  • Microscopy, Fluorescence, Multiphoton / methods*
  • Nonlinear Dynamics
  • Skin / pathology*
  • Skin Diseases / pathology*