Three-dimensional polar representation for multispectral fluorescence lifetime imaging microscopy



Multispectral fluorescence lifetime imaging microscopy is a promising and powerful technique for discriminating multiply labeled samples and for detecting molecular interactions inside thick, heterogeneous, and light-scattering milieu such as tissue. The fast and correct analysis of the spectral and lifetime images constitutes a major challenge, which requires a high level of expertise. We present here a new approach that considerably simplifies this analysis avoiding complex fitting algorithm strategies and permitting a fast and visual graphical representation of the fluorescence lifetimes. By transforming the experimental data from time domain to frequency domain for each spectral channel, we calculate the multispectral polar representation and demonstrate its interest on multiply fluorescent labeled sample. We further apply it on Förster resonance energy transfer (FRET) experiments and demonstrate that FRET measurements with a high level of precision can be performed. With addition of emission wavelength as third dimension in the polar representation, autofluorescence emitted by the sample is thus clearly identified. Analysis artifacts induced by the sample or by fitting algorithm choice become then totally inexistent. © 2009 International Society for Advancement of Cytometry