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Opt Lett. 2010 Dec 15;35(24):4139-41. doi: 10.1364/OL.35.004139.

In vivo label-free photoacoustic microscopy of cell nuclei by excitation of DNA and RNA.

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Department of Biomedical Engineering, Washington University in St. Louis, St. Louis, Missouri 63130, USA.


Imaging of cell nuclei plays a critical role in cancer diagnosis and prognosis. To image noninvasively cell nuclei in vivo without staining, we developed UV photoacoustic microscopy (UV-PAM), in which 266 nm wavelength UV light excites unlabeled DNA and RNA in cell nuclei to produce photoacoustic waves. We applied UV-PAM to ex vivo imaging of cell nuclei in a mouse lip and a mouse small intestine and to in vivo imaging of the cell nuclei in the mouse skin. The UV-PAM images of unstained cell nuclei match the optical micrographs of the histologically stained cell nuclei. Given intrinsic optical contrast and high spatial resolution, in vivo label-free UV-PAM has potential for unique biological and clinical application.

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