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J Biomed Opt. 2009 Jan-Feb;14(1):014001. doi: 10.1117/1.3059627.

In vivo, pixel-resolution mapping of thick filaments' orientation in nonfibrilar muscle using polarization-sensitive second harmonic generation microscopy.

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  • 1ICFO-Institut de Ciencies Fotoniques, Mediterranean Technology Park, 08860 Castelldefels, Barcelona, Spain.


The polarization dependence of second harmonic generation (SHG) microscopy is used to uncover structural information in different muscle cells in a living Caenorhabditis elegans (C. elegans) nematode. This is done by using a generalized biophysical model in which element ratios for the associated second-order nonlinear tensor and angular orientations for thick filaments are retrieved using a pixel-by-pixel fitting algorithm. As a result, multiple arbitrary orientations of thick filaments, at the pixel-resolution level, are revealed in the same image. The validity of our method is first corroborated in well-organized thick filaments such as the nonfibrilar body wall muscles. Next, a region of the nonstriated muscular cells of the pharynx is analyzed by showing different regions with homogenous orientations of thick filament as well as their radial distribution. As a result, different sets of the nonstriated muscle cell groups in the pharynx of this nematode were exposed. This methodology is presented as a filtering mechanism to uncover biological information unreachable by common intensity SHG microscopy. Finally, a method to experimentally retrieve the distribution of the effective orientation of active SHG molecules is proposed and tested.

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