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Biophys J. 2000 Apr;78(4):2127-37.

Global analysis of fluorescence lifetime imaging microscopy data.

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Cell Biophysics Laboratory, Imperial Cancer Research Fund, London WC2A 3PX, England.


Global analysis techniques are described for frequency domain fluorescence lifetime imaging microscopy (FLIM) data. These algorithms exploit the prior knowledge that only a limited number of fluorescent molecule species whose lifetimes do not vary spatially are present in the sample. Two approaches to implementing the lifetime invariance constraint are described. In the lifetime invariant fit method, each image in the lifetime image sequence is spatially averaged to obtain an improved signal-to-noise ratio. The lifetime estimations from these averaged data are used to recover the fractional contribution to the steady-state fluorescence on a pixel-by-pixel basis for each species. The second, superior, approach uses a global analysis technique that simultaneously fits the fractional contributions in all pixels and the spatially invariant lifetimes. In frequency domain FLIM the maximum number of lifetimes that can be fit with the global analysis method is twice the number of lifetimes that can be fit with conventional approaches. As a result, it is possible to discern two lifetimes with a single-frequency FLIM setup. The algorithms were tested on simulated data and then applied to separate the cellular distributions of coexpressed green fluorescent proteins in living cells.

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