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Subpopulations of cells that escape anti-cancer treatment can cause relapse in cancer patients. Therefore, measurements of cellular-level tumor heterogeneity could enable improved anti-cancer treatment regimens. Cancer exhibits altered cellular metabolism, which affects the autofluorescence of metabolic cofactors NAD(P)H and FAD. The optical redox ratio (fluorescence intensity of NAD(P)H divided by FAD) reflects global cellular metabolism. The fluorescence lifetime (amount of time a fluorophore is in the excited state) is sensitive to microenvironment, particularly protein-binding. High-resolution imaging of the optical redox ratio and fluorescence lifetimes of NAD(P)H and FAD (optical metabolic imaging) enables single-cell analyses. In this study, mice with FaDu tumors were treated with the antibody therapy cetuximab or the chemotherapy cisplatin and imaged in vivo two days after treatment. Results indicate that fluorescence lifetimes of NAD(P)H and FAD are sensitive to early response (two days post-treatment, P<.05), compared with decreases in tumor size (nine days post-treatment, P<.05). Frequency histogram analysis of individual optical metabolic imaging parameters identifies subpopulations of cells, and a new heterogeneity index enables quantitative comparisons of cellular heterogeneity across treatment groups for individual variables. Additionally, a dimensionality reduction technique (viSNE) enables holistic visualization of multivariate optical measures of cellular heterogeneity. These analyses indicate increased heterogeneity in the cetuximab and cisplatin treatment groups compared with the control group. Overall, the combination of optical metabolic imaging and cellular-level analyses provide novel, quantitative insights into tumor heterogeneity.
Copyright © 2015 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
OBJECTIVES - Three-dimensional organoids derived from primary pancreatic ductal adenocarcinomas are an attractive platform for testing potential anticancer drugs on patient-specific tissue. Optical metabolic imaging (OMI) is a novel tool used to assess drug-induced changes in cellular metabolism, and its quantitative end point, the OMI index, is evaluated as a biomarker of drug response in pancreatic cancer organoids.
METHODS - Optical metabolic imaging is used to assess both malignant cell and fibroblast drug response within primary murine and human pancreatic cancer organoids.
RESULTS - Anticancer drugs induce significant reductions in the OMI index of murine and human pancreatic cancer organoids. Subpopulation analysis of OMI data revealed heterogeneous drug response and elucidated responding and nonresponding cell populations for a 7-day time course. Optical metabolic imaging index significantly correlates with immunofluorescence detection of cell proliferation and cell death.
CONCLUSIONS - Optical metabolic imaging of primary pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma organoids is highly sensitive to drug-induced metabolic changes, provides a nondestructive method for monitoring dynamic drug response, and presents a novel platform for patient-specific drug testing and drug development.
Tumor collagen characteristics influence tumor malignancy, invasion, and metastasis. This study investigates the effects of trastuzumab (Tz) on the collagen of Tz-responsive (BT474) and Tz-resistant (HR6) breast cancer xenografts. Collagen content was assessed by in vivo second harmonic generation (SHG) imaging and histological trichrome staining of tumor sections. Collagen SHG imaging of control BT474 and HR6 tumors demonstrated increased collagen density after 14 days of treatment (p < 0.05). Trichrome staining revealed decreased collagen in Tz-treated BT474 and HR6 tumors at 2, 5, and 14 days of treatment, suggesting that Tz affects the tumor microenvironment independent of epithelial cell response. Additionally, collagen alignment analysis revealed significantly less aligned collagen in the Tz-treated BT474 tumors at day 14 compared with control BT474 tumors. There was no correlation between SHG endpoints (collagen density and alignment) and trichrome staining (p > 0.05), consistent with the physically distinctive nature of these measurements. There was also no correlation between tumor size and collagen endpoints (p > 0.05). These results identify changes within the collagen compartment of the tumor microenvironment following Tz treatment, which are independent from the tumor cell response to Tz, and demonstrate that intravital collagen SHG imaging is capable of measuring dynamic changes in tumor microenvironment following treatment that complements trichrome staining.
© 2015 Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE)
Using a newly developed near-infrared (NIR) dye that fluoresces at two different wavelengths (dichromic fluorescence, DCF), we discovered a new fluorescent substrate for Akt, also known as protein kinase B, and a method to quantitatively report this enzyme's activity in real time. Upon insulin activation of cellular Akt, the enzyme multi-phosphorylated a single serine residue of a diserine DCF substrate in a time-dependent manner, culminating in monophospho- to triphospho-serine products. The NIR DCF probe was highly selective for the Akt1 isoform, which was demonstrated using Akt1 knockout cells derived from MMTV-ErbB2 transgenic mice. The DCF mechanism provides unparalleled potential to assess the stimulation, sustainability, and reversibility of Akt activation longitudinally. Importantly, NIR fluorescence provides a pathway to translate findings from cells to living organisms, a condition that could eventually facilitate the use of these probes in humans.
Optical measurements of metabolism are ideally acquired in vivo; however, intravital measurements are often impractical. Accurate ex vivo assessments would greatly broaden the applicability of optical measurements of metabolism. We investigate the use of live tissue culture experiments to serve as a surrogate for in vivo metabolic measurements. To validate this approach, NADH and FAD fluorescence intensity and lifetime images were acquired with a two-photon microscope from hamster cheek pouch epithelia in vivo, from biopsies maintained in live tissue culture up to 48 h, and from flash-frozen and thawed biopsies. We found that the optical redox ratio (fluorescence intensity of NADH/FAD) of the cultured biopsy was statistically identical to the in vivo measurement until 24 h, while the redox ratio of the frozen-thawed samples decreased by 15% (p<0.01). The NADH mean fluorescence lifetime (τm) remained unchanged (p>0.05) during the first 8 h of tissue culture, while the NADH τm of frozen-thawed samples increased by 13% (p<0.001). Cellular morphology did not significantly change between in vivo, cultured, and frozen-thawed tissues (p>0.05). All results were consistent across multiple depth layers in this stratified squamous epithelial tissue. Histological markers for proliferation and apoptosis also confirm the viability of tissues maintained in culture. This study suggests that short-term ex vivo tissue culture may be more appropriate than frozen-thawed tissue for optical metabolic and morphologic measurements that approximate in vivo status.
AIM - We have previously found that chronic endothelin-1 (ET-1) infusion in Sprague-Dawley rats increases glomerular permeability to albumin (P(alb)) as assessed in vitro independent of blood pressure with no observed albuminuria. In this study, we hypothesized that ET-1 increases glomerular albumin filtration with accompanied increase in albumin uptake via the proximal tubule, which masks the expected increase in urinary albumin excretion.
MAIN METHODS - Nonfasting Munich-Wistar Fromter rats were surgically prepared for in vivo imaging (n=6). Rats were placed on the microscope stage with the exposed kidney placed in a cover slip-bottomed dish bathed in warm isotonic saline. Rats were then injected i.v. with rat serum albumin conjugated to Texas Red that was observed to enter capillary loops of superficial glomeruli, move into Bowman's space, bind to the proximal tubular cell brush border and reabsorbed across the apical membrane. Glomerular sieving coefficient (GSC) was calculated as the ratio of conjugated albumin within the glomerular capillary versus that in Bowman's space. Rats were again studied after 2 weeks of chronic ET-1 (2 pmol/kg/min; i.v. osmotic minipump).
KEY FINDINGS - Glomerular sieving coefficient was significantly increased in rats following chronic ET-1 infusion (0.025 ± 0.005 vs. 0.017 ± 0.003, p<0.05). Mean fluorescence intensity for conjugated albumin within proximal tubules was increased by ET-1 infusion: 118.40 ± 6.34 vs. 74.27 ± 4.45 pixel intensity (p<0.01).
SIGNIFICANCE - These data provide in vivo evidence that ET-1 directly increases glomerular permeability to albumin and that albuminuria is prevented by increased PT albumin uptake in the rat.
Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Multiphoton microscopy is a powerful technique based on complex quantum mechanical effects. Thanks to the development of turnkey mode-locked laser systems, multiphoton microscopy is now available for everyone to use without extreme complexity. In this short introduction, we describe qualitatively the important concepts underlying the most commonly used type of multiphoton microscopy (two-photon excitation). We elucidate how those properties lead to the powerful results that have been achieved using this technique. As with any technique, two-photon excitation microscopy has limitations that we describe, and we provide examples of particular classes of experiments where two-photon excitation microscopy is advantageous over other approaches. Finally, we briefly describe other useful multiphoton microscopy approaches, such as three-photon excitation and second harmonic generation imaging.
© 2011 The Authors Journal of Microscopy © 2011 Royal Microscopical Society.
Simple, quantitative assays to measure pH in tissue could improve the study of complicated biological processes and diseases such as cancer. We evaluated multispectral fluorescence imaging (MSFI) to quantify extracellular pH (pHe) in dye-perfused, surgically-resected tumor specimens with commercially available instrumentation. Utilizing a water-soluble organic dye with pH-dependent fluorescence emission (SNARF-4F), we used standard fluorimetry to quantitatively assess the emission properties of the dye as a function of pH. By conducting these studies within the spectroscopic constraints imposed by the appropriate imaging filter set supplied with the imaging system, we determined that correction of the fluorescence emission of deprotonated dye was necessary for accurate determination of pH due to suboptimal excitation. Subsequently, employing a fluorimetry-derived correction factor (CF), MSFI data sets of aqueous dye solutions and tissuelike phantoms could be spectrally unmixed to accurately quantify equilibrium concentrations of protonated (HA) and deprotonated (A-) dye and thus determine solution pH. Finally, we explored the feasibility of MSFI for high-resolution pHe mapping of human colorectal cancer cell-line xenografts. Data presented suggest that MSFI is suitable for quantitative determination of pHe in ex vivo dye-perfused tissue, potentially enabling measurement of pH across a variety of preclinical models of disease.
Multiphoton excitation fluorescence microscopy (MPM) can image certain molecular processes in vivo. In the eye, fluorescent retinyl esters in subcellular structures called retinosomes mediate regeneration of the visual chromophore, 11-cis-retinal, by the visual cycle. But harmful fluorescent condensation products of retinoids also occur in the retina. We report that in wild-type mice, excitation with a wavelength of ∼730 nm identified retinosomes in the retinal pigment epithelium, and excitation with a wavelength of ∼910 nm revealed at least one additional retinal fluorophore. The latter fluorescence was absent in eyes of genetically modified mice lacking a functional visual cycle, but accentuated in eyes of older wild-type mice and mice with defective clearance of all-trans-retinal, an intermediate in the visual cycle. MPM, a noninvasive imaging modality that facilitates concurrent monitoring of retinosomes along with potentially harmful products in aging eyes, has the potential to detect early molecular changes due to age-related macular degeneration and other defects in retinoid metabolism.
Metabolic monitoring at the cellular level in live tissues is important for understanding cell function, disease processes, and potential therapies. Multiphoton imaging of the relative amounts of NADH and FAD (the primary electron donor and acceptor, respectively, in the electron transport chain) provides a noninvasive method for monitoring cellular metabolic activity with high resolution in three dimensions in vivo. NADH and FAD are endogenous tissue fluorophores, and thus this method does not require exogenous stains or tissue excision. We describe the principles and protocols of multiphoton redox ratio imaging in vivo.