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J Biomed Opt. 2013 May;18(5):57002. doi: 10.1117/1.JBO.18.5.057002.

Effects of pathology dyes on Raman bone spectra.

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University of Michigan Medical School, Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Rheumatology, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-0688, USA.


We report an overlooked source of artifacts for clinical specimens, where unexpected and normally negligible contaminants can skew the interpretation of results. During an ongoing study of bone fragments from diabetic osteomyelitis, strong Raman signatures were found, which did not correspond with normal bone mineral or matrix. In a bone biopsy from the calcaneus of a patient affected by diabetic osteomyelitis, Raman microspectroscopic analysis revealed regions with both abnormal mineral and degraded collagen in addition to normal bone. Additional bands indicated a pathological material. Stenotrophomonas maltophilia was identified in the wound culture by independent microbiologic examination. We initially assigned the unusual bands to xanthomonadin, a bacterial pigment from S. maltophilia. However, the same bands were also found more than a year later on a second specimen that had been noticeably contaminated with pathology marking dye. Drop deposition/Raman spectroscopy of commonly used pathology dyes revealed that a blue tissue-marking dye was responsible for the unusual bands in both specimens, even in the first specimen where there was no visible evidence of contamination.

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