Hyperspectral imaging of endogenous fluorescent metabolic molecules to identify pain states in central nervous system tissue

Vasiliki Staikopoulos*, Martin E. Gosnell, Ayad G. Anwer, Sanam Mustafa, Mark R. Hutchinson, Ewa M. Goldys

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference proceeding contributionpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Fluorescence-based bio-imaging methods have been extensively used to identify molecular changes occurring in biological samples in various pathological adaptations. Auto-fluorescence generated by endogenous fluorescent molecules within these samples can interfere with signal to background noise making positive antibody based fluorescent staining difficult to resolve. Hyperspectral imaging uses spectral and spatial imaging information for target detection and classification, and can be used to resolve changes in endogenous fluorescent molecules such as flavins, bound and free NADH and retinoids that are involved in cell metabolism. Hyperspectral auto-fluorescence imaging of spinal cord slices was used in this study to detect metabolic differences within pain processing regions of non-pain versus sciatic chronic constriction injury (CCI) animals, an established animal model of peripheral neuropathy. By using an endogenous source of contrast, subtle metabolic variations were detected between tissue samples, making it possible to distinguish between animals from non-injured and injured groups. Tissue maps of native fluorophores, flavins, bound and free NADH and retinoids unveiled subtle metabolic signatures and helped uncover significant tissue regions with compromised mitochondrial function. Taken together, our results demonstrate that hyperspectral imaging provides a new non-invasive method to investigate central changes of peripheral neuropathic injury and other neurodegenerative disease models, and paves the way for novel cellular characterisation in health, disease and during treatment, with proper account of intrinsic cellular heterogeneity.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSPIE biophotonics Australasia
EditorsMark R. Hutchinson, Ewa M. Goldys
Place of PublicationWashington, US
Number of pages8
ISBN (Electronic)9781510604346
Publication statusPublished - 2016
EventSPIE BioPhotonics Australasia Conference - Adelaide, Australia
Duration: 17 Oct 201619 Oct 2016

Publication series

NameProceedings of SPIE
ISSN (Print)0277-786X


ConferenceSPIE BioPhotonics Australasia Conference


  • Auto-fluorescence
  • hyperspectral
  • neuropathic pain
  • CELL


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