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PLoS One. 2014 Apr 7;9(4):e93906. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0093906. eCollection 2014.

Raman spectroscopy analysis of the biochemical characteristics of molecules associated with the malignant transformation of gastric mucosa.

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Institute of Gastroenterology, Southwest Hospital, Third Military Medical University, Chongqing, China.
Key Laboratory of Multi-scale Manufacturing Technology, Chongqing Institute of Green and Intelligent Technology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Chongqing, P. R. China.



The purpose of this study was to comparatively analyze the signature Raman spectra of genomic DNA, nuclei, and tissue of normal gastric mucosa and gastric cancer and to investigate the biochemical transformation of molecules associated with gastric mucosa malignancy.


Genomic DNA, nuclei, and tissue from normal gastric mucosa and gastric cancer were analyzed by Raman spectroscopy.


1) The Raman spectrum of gastric cancer genomic DNA showed that two peaks appeared, one at approximately 1090 cm-1 with a higher intensity than the peak at 1050 cm-1 in the spectrum. Characteristic peaks appeared at 950 cm-1, 1010 cm-1, and 1100-1600 cm-1. 2) Using a hematoxylin and eosin (H&E)-stained section, the intensity of the characteristic peak of nucleic acids at 1085 cm-1 was increased and shifted to 1088 cm-1 in cancer cells. The relative intensity of the characteristic peaks of nucleoproteins at 755 cm-1 and 1607 cm-1 was significantly increased in cancer cells compared with normal cells. 3) Compared with normal tissues, the peak representing PO2- symmetric stretching vibration shifted from 1088 cm-1 to 1083 cm-1 in cancer tissue, and the characteristic peak for collagen at 938 cm-1 shifted to 944 cm-1. In addition, an extra characteristic peak indicating C = C stretching vibration appeared at 1379 cm-1 in the lipid spectrum in cancer tissue.


The position, intensity, and shape of peaks in the Raman spectra of DNA, nuclei, and tissue from gastric cancer were significantly different compared with those of normal cells. These results indicate that the DNA phosphate backbone becomes unstable in cancer cells and might be broken; the relative content of histones is increased and stable; the relative collagen content is reduced, facilitating cancer cell metastasis; and the relative content of unsaturated fatty acids is increased, increasing the mobility of the plasma membrane of cancer cells.

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