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In vitro and in vivo NIR Fluorescence Lifetime Imaging with a time-gated SPAD camera

  • Author(s): Smith, Jason;
  • Rudkouskaya, Alena;
  • Gao, Shan;
  • Gupta, Juhi;
  • Ulku, Arin;
  • Bruschini, Claudio;
  • Charbon, Edoardo;
  • Weiss, Shimon;
  • Barroso, Margarida;
  • Intes, Xavier;
  • Michalet, Xavier
  • et al.

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Near-infrared (NIR) fluorescence lifetime imaging (FLI) provides a unique contrast mechanism to monitor biological parameters and molecular events in vivo . Single-photon avalanche photodiode (SPAD) cameras have been recently demonstrated in FLI microscopy (FLIM) applications, but their suitability for in vivo macroscopic FLI (MFLI) in deep tissues remains to be demonstrated. Herein, we report in vivo NIR MFLI measurement with SwissSPAD2, a large time-gated SPAD camera. We first benchmark its performance in well-controlled in vitro experiments, ranging from monitoring environmental effects on fluorescence lifetime, to quantifying Förster Resonant Energy Transfer (FRET) between dyes. Next, we use it for in vivo studies of target-drug engagement in live and intact tumor xenografts using FRET. Information obtained with SwissSPAD2 was successfully compared to that obtained with a gated-ICCD camera, using two different approaches. Our results demonstrate that SPAD cameras offer a powerful technology for in vivo preclinical applications in the NIR window.

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