Raman microscopy, based upon the inelastic scattering (Raman) of light by molecular species, has been applied as a specific structural probe in a wide range of biomedical samples. The purpose of the present investigation was to assess the potential of the technique for spectral characterization of the porcine outer retina derived from the area centralis, which contains the highest proportion of cone:rod cell ratio in the pig retina. METHODS: Retinal cross-sections, immersion-fixed in 4% (w/v) PFA and cryoprotected, were placed on salinized slides and air-dried prior to direct Raman microscopic analysis at three excitation wavelengths, 785 nm, 633 nm, and 514 nm. RESULTS: Raman spectra of each of the photoreceptor inner and outer segments (PIS, POS) and of the outer nuclear layer (ONL) of the retina acquired at 785 nm were dominated by vibrational features characteristic of proteins and lipids. There was a clear difference between the inner and outer domains in the spectroscopic regions, amide I and III, known to be sensitive to protein conformation. The spectra recorded with 633 nm excitation mirrored those observed at 785 nm excitation for the amide I region, but with an additional pattern of bands in the spectra of the PIS region, attributed to cytochrome c. The same features were even more enhanced in spectra recorded with 514 nm excitation. A significant nucleotide contribution was observed in the spectra recorded for the ONL at all three excitation wavelengths. A Raman map was constructed of the major spectral components found in the retinal outer segments, as predicted by principal component analysis of the data acquired using 633 nm excitation. Comparison of the Raman map with its histological counterpart revealed a strong correlation between the two images. CONCLUSIONS: It has been demonstrated that Raman spectroscopy offers a unique insight into the biochemical composition of the light-sensing cells of the retina following the application of standard histological protocols. The present study points to the considerable promise of Raman microscopy as a component-specific probe of retinal tissue.
|Number of pages||8|
|Publication status||Published - 30 Sep 2005|
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