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Opt Express. 2006 Aug 21;14(17):7789-800.

In vivo imaging flow cytometer.


We introduce an in vivo imaging flow cytometer, which provides fluorescence images simultaneously with quantitative information on the cell population of interest in a live animal. As fluorescent cells pass through the slit of light focused across a blood vessel, the excited fluorescence is confocally detected. This cell signal triggers a strobe beam and a high sensitivity CCD camera that captures a snapshot image of the cell as it moves down-stream from the slit. We demonstrate that the majority of signal peaks detected in the in vivo flow cytometer arise form individual cells. The instrument's capability to image circulating T cells and measure their speed in the blood vessel in real time in vivo is demonstrated. The cell signal irradiance variation, clustering percentage, and potential applications in biology and medicine are discussed.

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