Autofluorescence spectroscopy and imaging: a tool for biomedical research and diagnosis

Eur J Histochem. 2014 Dec 12;58(4):2461. doi: 10.4081/ejh.2014.2461.


Native fluorescence, or autofluorescence (AF), consists in the emission of light in the UV-visible, near-IR spectral range when biological substrates are excited with light at suitable wavelength. This is a well-known phenomenon, and the strict relationship of many endogenous fluorophores with morphofunctional properties of the living systems, influencing their AF emission features, offers an extremely powerful resource for directly monitoring the biological substrate condition. Starting from the last century, the technological progresses in microscopy and spectrofluorometry were convoying attention of the scientific community to this phenomenon. In the future, the interest in the autofluorescence will certainly continue. Current instrumentation and analytical procedures will likely be overcome by the unceasing progress in new devices for AF detection and data interpretation, while a progress is expected in the search and characterization of endogenous fluorophores and their roles as intrinsic biomarkers.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Biomedical Research / instrumentation
  • Biomedical Research / methods*
  • Humans
  • Optical Imaging / instrumentation
  • Optical Imaging / methods*