Direct Quantification of Single Red Blood Cell Hemoglobin Concentration with Multiphoton Microscopy

Anal Chem. 2020 Sep 15;92(18):12235-12241. doi: 10.1021/acs.analchem.0c01609. Epub 2020 Aug 25.


Blood disorders, diseases, and infections often affect the shape, number, and content of red blood cells (RBCs) dramatically. To combat these pathologies, many therapies target RBCs and their contents directly. Mean corpuscular hemoglobin concentration (MCHC) is an important pathological metric in both identification and treatment. However, current methods for RBC analysis and MCHC quantification rely on bulk measurements. Single RBC measurements could provide necessary insight into the heterogeneity of RBC health and improve therapeutic efficacy. In this study, we present a novel multimodal multiphoton approach for quantifying hemoglobin concentration at single RBC resolution. We achieve this by collecting two images simultaneously that allows us to excite water with stimulated Raman scattering and hemoglobin with transient absorption. This multimodal imaging is enabled by a newly designed orthogonal modulation theme for dual-channel lock-in detection. By leveraging water as an internal standard, we quantify MCHC of healthy RBCs and RBCs infected with Plasmodium yoelii, a commonly studied rodent parasite model.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Erythrocytes / chemistry*
  • Erythrocytes / parasitology
  • Hemoglobins / analysis*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Microscopy, Fluorescence, Multiphoton*
  • Single-Cell Analysis*


  • Hemoglobins