Raman spectroscopic imaging for in vivo detection of cerebral brain metastases

Kirsch, Matthias; Schackert, Gabriele; Salzer, Reiner; Krafft, Christoph
October 2010
Analytical & Bioanalytical Chemistry;Oct2010, Vol. 398 Issue 4, p1707
Academic Journal
We report for the first time a proof-of-concept experiment employing Raman spectroscopy to detect intracerebral tumors in vivo by brain surface mapping. Raman spectroscopy is a non-destructive biophotonic method which probes molecular vibrations. It provides a specific fingerprint of the biochemical composition and structure of tissue without using any labels. Here, the Raman system was coupled to a fiber-optic probe. Metastatic brain tumors were induced by injection of murine melanoma cells into the carotid artery of mice, which led to subcortical and cortical tumor growth within 14 days. Before data acquisition, the cortex was exposed by creating a bony window covered by a calcium fluoride window. Spectral contributions were assigned to proteins, lipids, blood, water, bone, and melanin. Based on the spectral information, Raman images enabled the localization of cortical and subcortical tumor cell aggregates with accuracy of roughly 250 μm. This study demonstrates the prospects of Raman spectroscopy as an intravital tool to detect cerebral pathologies and opens the field for biophotonic imaging of the living brain. Future investigations aim to reduce the exposure time from minutes to seconds and improve the lateral resolution.


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