High-resolution fiber-optic microendoscopy for in situ cellular imaging

Mark Pierce, Dihua Yu, Rebecca Richards-Kortum

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

77 Scopus citations


Many biological and clinical studies require the longitudinal study and analysis of morphology and function with cellular level resolution. Traditionally, multiple experiments are run in parallel, with individual samples removed from the study at sequential time points for evaluation by light microscopy. Several intravital techniques have been developed, with confocal, multiphoton, and second harmonic microscopy all demonstrating their ability to be used for imaging in situ. With these systems, however, the required infrastructure is complex and expensive, involving scanning laser systems and complex light sources. Here we present a protocol for the design and assembly of a high-resolution microendoscope which can be built in a day using off-the-shelf components for under US$5,000. The platform offers flexibility in terms of image resolution, field-of-view, and operating wavelength, and we describe how these parameters can be easily modified to meet the specific needs of the end user. We and others have explored the use of the high-resolution microendoscope (HRME) in in vitro cell culture, in excised and living animal tissues, and in human tissues in vivo. Users have reported the use of several different fluorescent contrast agents, including proflavine, benzoporphyrin-derivative monoacid ring A (BPD-MA), and fluoroscein, all of which have received full, or investigational approval from the FDA for use in human subjects. High-resolution microendoscopy, in the form described here, may appeal to a wide range of researchers working in the basic and clinical sciences. The technique offers an effective and economical approach which complements traditional benchtop microscopy, by enabling the user to perform high-resolution, longitudinal imaging in situ.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere2306
JournalJournal of Visualized Experiments
Issue number47
StatePublished - Jan 2011
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Chemical Engineering(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)


  • Bioengineering
  • Endoscopic microscopy
  • Fiber bundle
  • In vivo microscopy
  • Intravital microscopy
  • Issue 47
  • Optical imaging

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