Optical coherence tomography (OCT) was used to determine optical properties of pelleted human fibroblasts in which necrosis or apoptosis had been induced. We analysed the OCT data, including both the scattering properties of the medium and the axial point spread function of the OCT system. The optical attenuation coefficient in necrotic cells decreased from 2.2 ± 0.3 mm−1 to 1.3 ± 0.6 mm−1, whereas, in the apoptotic cells, an increase to 6.4 ± 1.7 mm−1 was observed. The results from cultured cells, as presented in this study, indicate the ability of OCT to detect and differentiate between viable, apoptotic, and necrotic cells, based on their attenuation coefficient. This functional supplement to high-resolution OCT imaging can be of great clinical benefit, enabling on-line monitoring of tissues, e.g. for feedback in cancer treatment.
- Optical coherence tomography . Optical properties . Cells . Apoptosis . Necrosis