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Deep and Dynamic Metabolic and Structural Imaging in Living Tissues

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posted on 2024-04-20, 16:00 authored by Kunzan Liu, Honghao Cao, Kasey Shashaty, Li-Yu Yu, Sarah Spitz, Francesca Michela Pramotton, Zhengpeng Wan, Ellen L. Kan, Erin N. Tevonian, Manuel Levy, Eva Lendaro, Roger D. Kamm, Linda G. Griffith, Fan Wang, Tong Qiu, Sixian You
Label-free imaging through two-photon autofluorescence (2PAF) of NAD(P)H allows for non-destructive and high-resolution visualization of cellular activities in living systems. However, its application to thick tissues and organoids has been restricted by its limited penetration depth within 300 $\mu$m, largely due to tissue scattering at the typical excitation wavelength (~750 nm) required for NAD(P)H. Here, we demonstrate that the imaging depth for NAD(P)H can be extended to over 700 $\mu$m in living engineered human multicellular microtissues by adopting multimode fiber (MMF)-based low-repetition-rate high-peak-power three-photon (3P) excitation of NAD(P)H at 1100 nm. This is achieved by having over 0.5 MW peak power at the band of 1100$\pm$25 nm through adaptively modulating multimodal nonlinear pulse propagation with a compact fiber shaper. Moreover, the 8-fold increase in pulse energy at 1100 nm enables faster imaging of monocyte behaviors in the living multicellular models. These results represent a significant advance for deep and dynamic metabolic and structural imaging of intact living biosystems. The modular design (MMF with a slip-on fiber shaper) is anticipated to allow wide adoption of this methodology for demanding in vivo and in vitro imaging applications, including cancer research, autoimmune diseases, and tissue engineering.

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