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Sci Rep. 2015 May 20;5:9848. doi: 10.1038/srep09848.

Fluorescence lifetime imaging of endogenous biomarker of oxidative stress.

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Laboratory of Fluorescence Dynamics, Department of Biomedical Engineering, University of California, Irvine.
Department of Biomedical Engineering, University of California, Irvine.
Department of Developmental &Cell Biology, University of California, Irvine.


Presence of reactive oxygen species (ROS) in excess of normal physiological level results in oxidative stress. This can lead to a range of pathological conditions including inflammation, diabetes mellitus, cancer, cardiovascular and neurodegenerative disease. Biomarkers of oxidative stress play an important role in understanding the pathogenesis and treatment of these diseases. A number of fluorescent biomarkers exist. However, a non-invasive and label-free identification technique would be advantageous for in vivo measurements. In this work we establish a spectroscopic method to identify oxidative stress in cells and tissues by fluorescence lifetime imaging (FLIM). We identified an autofluorescent, endogenous species with a characteristic fluorescent lifetime distribution as a probe for oxidative stress. To corroborate our hypothesis that these species are products of lipid oxidation by ROS, we correlate the spectroscopic signals arising from lipid droplets by combining FLIM with THG and CARS microscopy which are established techniques for selective lipid body imaging. Further, we performed spontaneous Raman spectral analysis at single points of the sample which provided molecular vibration information characteristics of lipid droplets.

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