Indexed on: 18 Sep '07Published on: 18 Sep '07Published in: Journal of biomedical optics
We report multiphoton in situ optical sectioning of hair follicles in mice and a preliminary investigation of the pathological hair follicles in a transgenic mouse model. Using this imaging technology, we rapidly obtain detailed three-dimensional (3-D) reconstructions of individual hair follicles. No staining or mechanical sectioning is involved, since multiphoton microscopy coregisters two-photon excited fluorescence (TPF) from cells and second harmonic generation (SHG) signals from the extracellular matrix (ECM). These signals are ideally suited for estimating molecularly encoded hair follicular 3-D geometries, including sizes of the follicular orifices and their angles relative to the skin surface. In the normal hair follicles, spectral separation of SHG signals generated by the ECM of the hair follicle from that of intrinsic cellular fluorescence revealed intricate spatial interaction of the cellular components with the surrounding connective tissue. In the pathological hair follicles, these were clearly modified. In particular, in the transgenic mice, we observed lack of cellular fluorescence and significantly shallower angles of follicular orifices with respect to the skin surface. The combination of TPF with SHG is sensitive to structural changes in cells and extracellular matrix brought on by normal hair follicle physiology and specific gene alterations.