We report chemometric wide-field fluorescence microscopy for imaging the spatial distribution and concentration of endogenous fluorophores in thin tissue sections. Nonnegative factorization aided by spatial diversity is used to learn both the spectral signature and the spatial distribution of endogenous fluorophores from microscopic fluorescence color images obtained under broadband excitation and detection. The absolute concentration map of individual fluorophores is derived by comparing the fluorescence from “pure” fluorophores under the identical imaging condition following the identification of the fluorescence species by its spectral signature. This method is then demonstrated by characterizing the concentration map of endogenous fluorophores (including tryptophan, elastin, nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide, and flavin adenine dinucleotide) for lung tissue specimens. The absolute concentrations of these fluorophores are all found to decrease significantly from normal, perilesional, to cancerous (squamous cell carcinoma) tissue. Discriminating tissue types using the absolute fluorophore concentration is found to be significantly more accurate than that achievable with the relative fluorescence strength. Quantification of fluorophores in terms of the absolute concentration map is also advantageous in eliminating the uncertainties due to system responses or measurement details, yielding more biologically relevant data, and simplifying the assessment of competing imaging approaches.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/min_xu/16/