Noninvasive Photoacoustic Microscopy of Living Cells in Two and Three Dimensions through Enhancement by a Metabolite Dye


  • This work was supported in part by the NIH Director’s Pioneer Award (DP1 OD000798) and startup funds from Washington University in St. Louis (to Y.X.). This work was also sponsored by grants of the NIH (numbers R01 EB000712, R01 EB008085, and U54 CA136398 to L.V.W.). Part of the research was performed at the Nano Research Facility, a member of the National Nanotechnology Infrastructure Network (NNIN), which is supported by the NSF under award ECS-0335765.


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Rich in contrast: A new type of contrast agent, 1-(4,5-dimethyl-2-thiazolyl)-3,5-diphenylformazan (MTT formazan), is reported for nondestructive and nontoxic imaging of living cells by photoacoustic microscopy (see picture). The contrast mechanism is general and can be applied to essentially all types of metabolically active cells, including stem cells and tumor cells.