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Anal Chem. 2007 Sep 15;79(18):7221-5. Epub 2007 Aug 11.

In situ analysis of living embryonic stem cells by coherent anti-stokes Raman microscopy.


Embryonic stem cells (ESC), derived from preimplantation embryos, are defined by their ability to both self-renew and differentiate into all of the cells and tissues of a mature animal. Efforts to develop methods for in vitro culture of ESC for research or eventual therapeutic applications are hampered by the lack of rapid, nondestructive assays for distinguishing ESC from other (differentiated) cells within a growing culture. Coherent anti-Stokes Raman scattering (CARS) microscopy is shown here to be a sensitive and nondestructive method for identifying mouse ESC based on selective observation of specific molecular vibrations believed to be spectroscopic markers indicating the differentiated vs undifferentiated states of such cells. The nonlinear nature of CARS also permits imaging with subcellular resolution, potentially offering a means by which chemical changes accompanying the early stages of differentiation may be associated with certain intracellular compartments (e.g., nucleus, cytoplasm, membranes). A novel exposure/collection configuration is described, which yields high collection efficiency and low interference from nonresonant background components.

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