Near-infrared spectroscopy as a tool for in vivo analysis of human muscles

Antonio Currà, Riccardo Gasbarrone, Alessandra Cardillo, Carlo Trompetto, Francesco Fattapposta, Francesco Pierelli, Paolo Missori, Giuseppe Bonifazi, Silvia Serranti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Recent advances in materials and fabrication techniques provided portable, performant, sensing optical spectrometers readily operated by user-friendly cabled or wireless systems. Such systems allow rapid, non-invasive, and not destructive quantitative analysis of human tissues. This proof-of-principle investigation tested whether infrared spectroscopy techniques, currently utilized in a variety of areas, could be applied in living humans to categorize muscles. Using an ASD FieldSpec® 4 Standard-Res Spectroradiometer with a spectral sampling capability of 1.4 nm at 350-1000 nm and 1.1 nm at 1001-2500 nm, we acquired reflectance spectra in visible short-wave infra-red regions (350-2500 nm) from the upper limb muscles (flexors and extensors) of 20 healthy subjects (age 25-89 years, 9 women). Spectra off-line analysis included preliminary preprocessing, Principal Component Analysis, and Partial Least-Squares Discriminant Analysis. Near-infrared (NIR) spectroscopy proved valuable for noninvasive assessment of tissue optical properties in vivo. In addition to the non-invasive detection of tissue oxygenation, NIR spectroscopy provided the spectral signatures (ie, "fingerprints") of upper limb flexors and extensors, which represent specific, accurate, and reproducible measures of the overall biological status of these muscles. Thus, non-invasive NIR spectroscopy enables more thorough evaluation of the muscular system and optimal monitoring of the effectiveness of therapeutic or rehabilitative interventions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8623
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jun 13 2019


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