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Biophys Chem. 1991 Apr;40(1):117-25.

Construction and evaluation of a frequency-domain epifluorescence microscope for lifetime and anisotropy decay measurements in subcellular domains.

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Department of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco 94143-0532.


The measurement of time-resolved fluorescence parameters in living cells provides a powerful approach to study cell structure and dynamics. An epifluorescence microscope was constructed to resolve multi-component fluorescence lifetimes and complex anisotropy decay rapidly in labile biological samples. The excitation source consisted of focused, polarized laser light modulated by an impulse-driven Pockels' cell; parallel acquisition of phase angles and modulation amplitudes at more than 40 frequencies (5-250 MHz) was obtained by multi-harmonic cross-correlation detection. Lifetime decay was measured against standard solutions introduced into the light path proximal to the microscope objective. Anisotropy decay was measured by rotation of a Glan-Thompson polarizer in the emission path. Phase reference light was split from the beam proximal to the microscope. Optical components were selected to avoid depolarization and to optimize fluorescence detection efficiency. The dichoric was replaced by a 1 mm square mirror. Fitting routine statistics were optimized for model discrimination in realistic biological samples. Instrument performance was evaluated using fluorescein in H2O/glycerol and H2O/ethylene glycol mixtures and in Swiss 3T3 fibroblasts in monolayer culture. Objective depolarization effects were evaluated by measurement of anisotropy decay using objectives of different numerical aperture. Lifetime and anisotropy decay measured by microscopy (0.5 micron laser spot) agreed with data obtained by cuvette fluorimetry. New biological applications for time-resolved fluorescence microscopy are discussed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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