• confocal laser scanning microscopy;
  • gold nanoparticles;
  • contrast agent;
  • optical clearing;
  • skin tissues


Confocal laser scanning microscopy (CLSM) is a modern high-resolution optical technique providing detailed image of tissue structure with high (down to microns) spatial resolution. Aiming at a concurrent improvement of imaging depth and image quality the CLSM requires the use of contrast agents. Commonly employed fluorescent contrast agents, such as fluorescent dyes and proteins, suffer from toxicity, photo-bleaching and overlapping with the tissues autofluorescence. Gold nanoparticles are potentially highly attractive to be applied as a contrast agent since they are not subject to photo-bleaching and can target biochemical cells markers associated with the specific diseases. In current report we consider the applicability of gold nanospheres as a contrast agent to enhance quality of CLSM images of skin tissues in vitro versus the application of optical clearing agent, such as glycerol. The enhancement of CLSM image contrast was observed with an application of gold nano-spheres diffused within the skin tissues. We show that optical clearing agents such as a glycerol provide better CLSM image contrast than gold nano-spheres. (© 2009 by Astro Ltd., Published exclusively by WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA)