Human liver autofluorescence: An intrinsic tissue parameter discriminating normal and diseased conditions

Anna C. Croce, Uliana De Simone, Isabel Freitas, Eleonora Boncompagni, Daniele Neri, Umberto Cillo, Giovanni Bottiroli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background and Objective: Autofluorescence (AF) emission is an intrinsic parameter that can provide realtime information on morpho-functional properties of biological tissue, being strictly related with their biochemical composition and structural organization. The diagnostic potentials of AF-based techniques have been investigated on normal, fibrotic, and steatotic liver tissues, in reference to histological features as evidenced by specific histochemical stainings. Materials and Methods: AF emission under excitation at 366nm has been examined on cryostatic tissue sections obtained from biopsies collected during surgical operation, by means of fluorescence imaging and microspectrofluorometric techniques. Results: NAD(P)H, collagen, and vitamin A were found to be the endogenous fluorophores characterizing normal, fibrotic, and steatotic liver tissue AF, respectively. The differences of their photo-physical properties, in terms of emission amplitude, spectral shape, and response to irradiation, give rise to modifications of overall AF signal collected from tissues that allow the liver conditions to be distinguished. Conclusion: The study provides a valid premise for a development of AF-based optical biopsy techniques for a real-time discrimination of liver anatomo-pathological patterns.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)371-378
Number of pages8
JournalLasers in Surgery and Medicine
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2010


  • Endogenous fluorophores
  • Fibrosis
  • Imaging
  • Photo-bleaching
  • Spectro-fluorometry
  • Steatosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Dermatology


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