Use of multiphoton tomography and fluorescence lifetime imaging to investigate skin pigmentation in vivo

Yuri Dancik, Amandine Favre, Chong Jin Loy, Andrei V. Zvyagin, Michael S. Roberts

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Citations (Scopus)


There is a growing body of literature showing the usefulness of multiphoton tomography (MPT) and fluorescence lifetime imaging for in situ characterization of skin constituents and the ensuing development of noninvasive diagnostic tools against skin diseases. Melanin and pigmentation-associated skin cancers constitute some of the major applications. We show that MPT and fluorescence lifetime imaging can be used to measure changes in cutaneous melanin concentration and that these can be related to the visible skin color. Melanin in the skin of African, Indian, Caucasian, and Asian volunteers is detected on the basis of its emission wavelength and fluorescence lifetimes in solution and in a melanocyte-keratinocyte cell culture. Fluorescence intensity is used to characterize the melanin content and distribution as a function of skin type and depth into the skin (stratum granulosum and stratum basale). The measured fluorescence intensities in given skin types agree with melanin amounts reported by others using biopsies. Our results suggest that spatial distribution of melanin in skin can be studied using MPT and fluorescence lifetime imaging, but further studies are needed to ascertain that the method can resolve melanin amount in smaller depth intervals.

Original languageEnglish
Article number026022
Pages (from-to)1-13
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Biomedical Optics
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2013

Bibliographical note

An erratum for this article exists in the Journal of Biomedical Optics, vol. 18, issue 2, article no. 029802. DOI: 10.1117/1.JBO.18.2.029802


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