Research Papers

Cutaneous melanin exhibiting fluorescence emission under near-infrared light excitation

[+] Author Affiliations
Zhiwei Huang, Haishan Zeng

British Columbia Cancer Research Centre, Cancer Imaging Department, 675 West Tenth Avenue, Vancouver, British Columbia, V5Z 1L3 Canada

Iltefat Hamzavi, Abdulmajeed Alajlan, Eileen Tan, David I. McLean, Harvey Lui

University of British Columbia, Department of Dermatology and Skin Science, Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute, 835 West Tenth Avenue, Vancouver, British Columbia, V5Z 4E8 Canada

J. Biomed. Opt. 11(3), 034010 (May 23, 2006). doi:10.1117/1.2204007
History: Received August 05, 2005; Revised January 13, 2006; Accepted January 16, 2006; Published May 23, 2006
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Under ultraviolet and visible light excitation, melanin is essentially a nonfluorescent substance. This work reports our study on near-infrared (NIR) fluorescence properties of melanins, and explores potential applications of NIR fluorescence techniques for evaluating skin disorders involving melanin. The NIR fluorescence spectrum is obtained using a fiber optic NIR spectrometer under 785-nm laser excitation. In vitro measurements are performed on synthetic dihydroxyphenylalanine (DOPA) melanin, melanin extracted from Sepia ink sacs, human hair, animal fur, and bird feathers. Paired spectral comparisons of white and black skin appendages show that melanization of hair, fur, or feathers more than doubles the NIR fluorescence. In vivo NIR autofluorescence of normal dorsal and volar forearm skin of 52 volunteers is measured. Dorsal forearm skin, which is darker than volar skin, exhibits significantly greater NIR fluorescence. Patients with vitiligo (n=4), compound nevus (n=3), nevus of Ota (n=1), superficial spreading melanoma (n=3), and postinflammatory hyperpigmentation (n=1) are also evaluated. NIR fluorescence is greater within the lesion than the surrounding normal skin for all these conditions except vitiligo, where the converse was true. The observed melanin NIR fluorescence provides a new approach to in vitro and in vivo melanin detection and quantification that may be particularly useful for evaluating pigmented skin lesions.

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© 2006 Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers

Citation

Zhiwei Huang ; Haishan Zeng ; Iltefat Hamzavi ; Abdulmajeed Alajlan ; Eileen Tan, et al.
"Cutaneous melanin exhibiting fluorescence emission under near-infrared light excitation", J. Biomed. Opt. 11(3), 034010 (May 23, 2006). ; http://dx.doi.org/10.1117/1.2204007


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