Fast subcellular optical coherence photoacoustic microscopy for pigment cell imaging

Lin Li, Cuixia Dai, Qian Li, Qingliang Zhao, Xiaoyun Jiang, Xinyu Chai, Chuanqing Zhou
Optics Letters 2015 October 1, 40 (19): 4448-51
We developed a fast ultrahigh resolution optical coherence photoacoustic microscopy (FU-OCPAM) system by combining two complementary imaging modes of optical coherence microscopy (OCM) and photoacoustic microscopy (PAM) for cellular/subcellular imaging. The system used optical scanning to realize fast imaging speed and provided ultrahigh resolution of 1.24 and 0.59 μm for OCM and PAM, respectively. We imaged the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) to demonstrate the subcellular imaging capability of the FU-OCPAM system. The OCM and PAM images clearly showed the RPE cell morphology and reflected the complementary optical properties of scattering and absorption. A quantitative analysis of the RPE cells was made based on photoacoustic (PA) signals. The cell area mainly ranged from 80 to 300  μm2, and had a linear relationship with the sum intensity of PA signals which mainly reflected the melanin content of the cells. The morphology and the PA signal could be used to identify qualitatively and quantitatively the aging and healthy states of the RPE cells. The results show the potential applications in studying the real-time cellular response to external stimulations and the progress of aging and diseases at the cellular level with FU-OCPAM.

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