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Keywords:

  • dermatology;
  • hair shaft;
  • skin;
  • thick sample imaging

Please cite this paper as: Point scanning confocal microscopy facilitates 3D human hair follicle imaging in tissue sections. Experimental Dermatology 2010; 19: 691–694.

Abstract:  Efficiency is a key factor in determining whether a scientific method becomes widely accepted in practical applications. In dermatology, morphological characterisation of intact hair follicles by traditional methods can be rather inefficient. Samples are embedded, sliced, imaged and digitally reconstructed, which can be time-consuming. Confocal microscopy, on the other hand, is more efficient and readily applicable to study intact hair follicles. Modern confocal microscopes deliver and collect light very efficiently and thus allow high spatial resolution imaging of relatively thick samples. In this letter, we report that we successfully imaged entire intact human hair follicles using point scanning confocal microscopy. Light delivery and light-collection were further improved by preparing the samples in 2,2′-Thiodiethanol (TDE), thus reducing refractive index gradients. The relatively short total scan times and the high quality of the acquired 3D images make confocal microscopy a desirable method for studying intact hair follicles under normal and pathological conditions.