Absolute autofluorescence spectra of human healthy, metaplastic, and early cancerous bronchial tissue in vivo
Autofluorescence is emerging as a useful tool for the detection of early cancers in the bronchi. It has already produced interesting results, which have been implemented in commercial imaging devices. Their design relies on the spectroscopy of the tissues of interest. However, a large majority of these autofluorescence spectroscopy studies have been presented in arbitrary units. This is a drawback for, in particular, the designing of imaging devices based on autofluorescence. Using correction factors and a spectral sensitivity correction curve, we determined the absolute spectral distribution of the tissue autofluorescence in vivo. These measurements were performed on healthy, metaplastic, and dysplastic bronchial tissues at several excitation wavelengths ranging from 350 to 495 nm. Moreover, we measured at a fixed distance between the tissue and the probe to avoid geometric distortions of the spectra that are due to the optical characteristics of tissue. We found that the order of magnitude of the autofluorescence brightness was stable as the excitation wavelengths varied (on the order of 5 pW/muW x nm at the maximum of the fluorescence emission spectra).