SIGNIFICANCE: Currently, tissue biopsies are sectioned into 3- to 5-μm-thick slices that are used for conventional pathology analysis. Previous work by confocal microscopy and light-sheet microscopy has shown that analyzing biopsies intact in three-dimensions (3D) is possible and may lead to a better understanding of cancer growth patterns. Although accurate, these methods require fluorescent staining of the tissue, in addition to tissue clearing. If the 3D biopsy analysis could be done sufficiently swiftly, this approach may be used for on-site assessment of the adequacy of a biopsy taken. AIM: We aim to show that, by transmission microscopy of optically cleared tissue punches, the tissue architecture can be determined without the need for fluorescent staining. APPROACH: Transmission microscopy is used by combining bright field microscopy with dark field and epifluorescent microscopy to compare samples that have also been analyzed by fluorescent confocal microscopy. RESULTS: With increasing distance to the focal plane, the higher-frequency part of the spatial frequency spectrum of transmitted light is attenuated increasingly. This property is exploited for tissue segmentation, detecting whether tissue is present at a certain position in the focal plane image. Using this approach, we show that a 3D rendering of the internal cavity or tubules structure of punch biopsies, which are up to 1-mm thick, can be acquired in ≈1 min scan time per imaging modality. The images of the overall tissue architecture that are obtained are similar to those from the confocal microscopy benchmark, without requiring fluorescent staining. CONCLUSIONS: Images of the overall tissue architecture can be obtained from transmission microcopy; they are similar to those from the confocal microscopy benchmark without requiring fluorescent staining. Tissue clearing is still needed. The total scan time of the present method is significantly shorter at a fraction of the device costs.

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Journal of Biomedical Optics
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Boamfa, M.I. (Marius I.), Asselman, M.J.A. (Michel J A), Vulders, R.C.M. (Roland C M), Verhoef, E., Royen, M., & van der Zaag, P.J. (Pieter J.). (2020). Combined transmission, dark field and fluorescence microscopy for intact, 3D tissue analysis of biopsies. Journal of Biomedical Optics, 25(11). doi:10.1117/1.JBO.25.11.116503