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Assessment of Murine Colon Inflammation Using Intraluminal Fluorescence Lifetime Imaging.


Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is typically diagnosed by exclusion years after its onset. Current diagnostic methods are indirect, destructive, or target overt disease. Screening strategies that can detect low-grade inflammation in the colon would improve patient prognosis and alleviate associated healthcare costs. Here, we test the feasibility of fluorescence lifetime imaging (FLIm) to detect inflammation from thick tissue in a non-destructive and label-free approach based on tissue autofluorescence. A pulse sampling FLIm instrument with 355 nm excitation was coupled to a rotating side-viewing endoscopic probe for high speed (10 mm/s) intraluminal imaging of the entire mucosal surface (50-80 mm) of freshly excised mice colons. Current results demonstrate that tissue autofluorescence lifetime was sensitive to the colon anatomy and the colonocyte layer. Moreover, mice under DSS-induced colitis and 5-ASA treatments showed changes in lifetime values that were qualitatively related to inflammatory markers consistent with alterations in epithelial bioenergetics (switch between β-oxidation and aerobic glycolysis) and physical structure (colon length). This study demonstrates the ability of intraluminal FLIm to image mucosal lifetime changes in response to inflammatory treatments and supports the development of FLIm as an in vivo imaging technique for monitoring the onset, progression, and treatment of inflammatory diseases.

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