New developments in two-photon analysis of human skin in vivo
Two-photon imaging of human skin using ultra short laser pulses can be used to obtain information about the state of cells and tissues by means of their natural autofluorescence. Using this method, it is possible to determine whether the normal cell pattern is disturbed or the autofluorescence is influenced by internal or external stimuli. Two-photon fluorescence lifetime imaging (FLIM) can further enhance this providing information about physiological processes, fluorophores (like NAD(P)H, collagen, keratin, elastin, flavins, melanin,...) and external applied probes inside cells and tissue parts. For example the part of the cells metabolism and energy level can be determined by analyzing the NADH regarding its free / bound state and its oxidized / reduced state. The combination of two-photon imaging with FLIM may lead to a better understanding and diagnosis of skin reactions and disorders. We also present some results of in vivo simultaneous collagen and elastin measurements in skin dermis. Changes of dermal collagen and elastin content are characteristic for skin aging as well as for pathological skin conditions.