Optical coherence tomography and autofluorescence imaging of human tonsil

PLoS One. 2014 Dec 26;9(12):e115889. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0115889. eCollection 2014.


For the first time, we present co-registered autofluorescence imaging and optical coherence tomography (AF/OCT) of excised human palatine tonsils to evaluate the capabilities of OCT to visualize tonsil tissue components. Despite limited penetration depth, OCT can provide detailed structural information about tonsil tissue with much higher resolution than that of computed tomography, magnetic resonance imaging, and Ultrasound. Different tonsil tissue components such as epithelium, dense connective tissue, lymphoid nodules, and crypts can be visualized by OCT. The co-registered AF imaging can provide matching biochemical information. AF/OCT scans may provide a non-invasive tool for detecting tonsillar cancers and for studying the natural history of their development.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Connective Tissue
  • Epithelium
  • Humans
  • Lymph Nodes / cytology
  • Palatine Tonsil / cytology*
  • Tomography, Optical Coherence / methods*

Grant support

This work was supported through grants from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) and Canadian Institutes of Health and Research (CIHR). The collection of tonsil samples was supported by funding from Canadian Cancer Society Institute (Award #: 2012-701143). NSERC, the Michael Smith Foundation for Health and Research (MSFHR), and Lotte & John Hecht Memorial Foundation provided Postdoctoral fellowship for HP. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.