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Fibre optic confocal imaging (FOCI) enabled subsurface fluorescence
microscopy of the skin of hairless mice
in vivo. Application of acridine orange enabled imaging of the layers of
the epidermis. The corneocytes of
the stratum corneum, the keratinocytes in the basal layers and redundant
hair follicles were visualised at
depths greater than 100 μm. Cellular and nuclear membranes of keratinocytes
of the skin were visualised by
the use of acridine orange and DIOC5(3). Imaging of the skin after
injection of FITC-dextran revealed an
extensive network of blood vessels with a size range up to 20 μm.
Blood cells could be seen moving through
dermal vessels and the blood circulation through the dermal vascular
bed was video-taped. The fluorescent
dye 4-di-2-ASP showed the presence of nerves fibres around the hair
follicles and subsurface blood vessels.
Comparison was made between images obtained in vivo using FOCI and in vitro
microscopy and conventional histology. FOCI offers the potential
to study dynamic events in vivo, such as
blood flow, skin growth, nerve regeneration and many pathological
processes, in ways which have not previously been possible.
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