Fluorescence diffuse tomography (FDT) is the most accurate technique for the imaging of labeled tumors in the small animal body. However, the procedure for reconstruction of the spatial distribution of the fluorophore requires a high signal-to-noise ratio due to the ill-condition of the inverse problem. Therefore, the FDT technique is ineffective for imaging tumors of small size or with dim fluorophores because of the low intensity of their fluorescence compared with the high level of tissue autofluorescence. In these cases, the size and position of a marked tumor in the animal body can be estimated from two-dimensional fluorescence images obtained using trans- or epi-illumination techniques.
Material and methods:
A versatile system for small animal fluorescence imaging which combines planar epi- and trans-illumination geometries of the light source and of the fluorescence receiver was created and tested. For epi-illumination imaging, light-emitting diode sources were used to provide homogeneous and stable illumination of the experimental animal, in combination with a cooled CCD camera which covers the entire illuminated area. For trans-illumination imaging, mechanical raster-scanning devices modulated at a low frequency were used for the laser source, together with a cooled photomultiplier tube, which provided outstanding sensitivity.
Monitoring the orthotopic tumor growth in animal bodies has demonstrated the efficacy of trans-illumination imaging in comparison with the epi-illumination technique. The results obtained also showed that the effective use of the trans-illumination technique requires Born normalization of the fluorescence signal and the exclusion of lateral illumination by surrounding the animal with additional light absorption material using light-absorption pads on both sides of the body.
Alteration of cellular energy metabolism is a principal feature of tumor and stem cells. Here we analyze the metabolic interactions between cancer cells and fibroblasts in a co-culture model and the metabolic heterogeneity of tumors and metabolic changes in mesenchymal stem cells during adipogenic differentiation based on the fluorescence of the metabolic cofactors NADH, NADPH, and FAD. We registered a metabolic switch from oxidative phosphorylation to glycolysis with slight acidification of the cytosol in cancer cells in a co-culture model. In the tumor tissue we detected metabolic heterogeneity with more glycolytic metabolism of cancer cells in the stroma-rich zones. The shift of cellular energy metabolism from glycolysis to oxidative phosphorylation and the activation of lipogenesiswere observed in adipocytes. Data aboutmetabolic alterations in cancer and stemcells are important formonitoring the progression of cancers, the development of anticancer drugs and stemcell therapy.