In vivo fluorescence imaging for tissue diagnostics

Phys Med Biol. 1997 May;42(5):815-24. doi: 10.1088/0031-9155/42/5/006.


Non-invasive fluorescence imaging has the potential to provide in vivo diagnostic information for many clinical specialties. Techniques have been developed over the years for simple ocular observations following UV excitation to sophisticated spectroscopic imaging using advanced equipment. Much of the impetus for research on fluorescence imaging for tissue diagnostics has come from parallel developments in photodynamic therapy of malignant lesions with fluorescent photosensitizers. However, the fluorescence of endogenous molecules (tissue autofluorescence) also plays an important role in most applications. In this paper, the possibilities of imaging tissues using fluorescence spectroscopy as a mean of tissue characterization are discussed. The various imaging techniques for extracting diagnostic information suggested in the literature are reviewed. The development of exogenous fluorophores for this purpose is also presented. Finally, the present status of clinical evaluation and future directions are discussed.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Diagnostic Imaging / methods*
  • Spectrometry, Fluorescence / methods*