Label-free molecular imaging of atherosclerotic lesions using multimodal nonlinear optical microscopy

Thuc T. Le, Ingeborg M. Langohr, Matthew J. Locker, Michael Sturek, Ji Xin Cheng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

140 Scopus citations


Arterial tissues collected from Ossabaw swine bearing metabolic syndrome-induced cardiovascular plaques are characterized by multimodal nonlinear optical microscopy that allows coherent anti-Stokes Raman scattering, second-harmonic generation, and two-photon excitation fluorescence imaging on the same platform. Significant components of arterial walls and atherosclerotic lesions, including endothelial cells, extracellular lipid droplets, lipid-rich cells, low-density lipoprotein aggregates, collagen, and elastin are imaged without any labeling. Emission spectra of these components are obtained by nonlinear optical microspectrometry. The nonlinear optical contrast is compared with histology of the same sample. Multimodal nonlinear optical imaging of plaque composition also allows identification of atherosclerotic regions that are vulnerable to rupture risk. The demonstrated capability of nonlinear optical microscopy for label-free molecular imaging of atherosclerotic lesions with 3-D submicrometric resolution suggests its potential application to the diagnosis of atherosclerotic plaques, determination of their rupture risk, and design of individualized drug therapy based on plaque composition.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number054007-1
JournalJournal of Biomedical Optics
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 2007


  • Atherosclerosis
  • Coherent anti-Stokes Raman scattering
  • Nonlinear optics
  • Obesity
  • Plaque
  • Second-harmonic generation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Biomaterials
  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials

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