Publications

Highlights

Di Giosia, M.* ; Solda, A. ; Seeger, M. ; Cantelli, A.* ; Arnesano, F.* ; Nardella, M.I.* ; Mangini, V.* ; Valle, F.* ; Montalti, M.* ; Zerbetto, F.* ; Rapino, S.* ; Calvaresi, M.* ; Ntziachristos, V.
Adv. Func. Mat. 31:2101527 (2021)
Fullerenes are candidates for theranostic applications because of their high photodynamic activity and intrinsic multimodal imaging contrast. However, fullerenes suffer from low solubility in aqueous media, poor biocompatibility, cell toxicity, and a tendency to aggregate. C70@lysozyme is introduced herein as a novel bioconjugate that is harmless to a cellular environment, yet is also photoactive and has excellent optical and optoacoustic contrast for tracking cellular uptake and intracellular localization. The formation, water-solubility, photoactivity, and unperturbed structure of C70@lysozyme are confirmed using UV-visible and 2D 1H, 15N NMR spectroscopy. The excellent imaging contrast of C70@lysozyme in optoacoustic and third harmonic generation microscopy is exploited to monitor its uptake in HeLa cells and lysosomal trafficking. Last, the photoactivity of C70@lysozyme and its ability to initiate cell death by means of singlet oxygen (1O2) production upon exposure to low levels of white light irradiation is demonstrated. This study introduces C70@lysozyme and other fullerene-protein conjugates as potential candidates for theranostic applications.
Wissenschaftlicher Artikel
Scientific Article
Herud-Sikimić, O.* ; Stiel, A.-C. ; Kolb, M.* ; Shanmugaratnam, S.* ; Berendzen, K.W.* ; Feldhaus, C.* ; Höcker, B.* ; Jürgens, G.*
Nature 592, 768–772 (2021)
One of the most important regulatory small molecules in plants is indole-3-acetic acid, also known as auxin. Its dynamic redistribution has an essential role in almost every aspect of plant life, ranging from cell shape and division to organogenesis and responses to light and gravity1,2. So far, it has not been possible to directly determine the spatial and temporal distribution of auxin at a cellular resolution. Instead it is inferred from the visualization of irreversible processes that involve the endogenous auxin-response machinery3-7; however, such a system cannot detect transient changes. Here we report a genetically encoded biosensor for the quantitative in vivo visualization of auxin distribution. The sensor is based on the Escherichia coli tryptophan repressor8, the binding pocket of which is engineered to be specific to auxin. Coupling of the auxin-binding moiety with selected fluorescent proteins enables the use of a fluorescence resonance energy transfer signal as a readout. Unlike previous systems, this sensor enables direct monitoring of the rapid uptake and clearance of auxin by individual cells and within cell compartments in planta. By responding to the graded spatial distribution along the root axis and its perturbation by transport inhibitors-as well as the rapid and reversible redistribution of endogenous auxin in response to changes in gravity vectors-our sensor enables real-time monitoring of auxin concentrations at a (sub)cellular resolution and their spatial and temporal changes during the lifespan of a plant.
Wissenschaftlicher Artikel
Scientific Article
Karlas, A. ; Pleitez, M.A. ; Aguirre Bueno, J. ; Ntziachristos, V.
Nat. Rev. Endocrinol. 17, 323-335 (2021)
Imaging is an essential tool in research, diagnostics and the management of endocrine disorders. Ultrasonography, nuclear medicine techniques, MRI, CT and optical methods are already used for applications in endocrinology. Optoacoustic imaging, also termed photoacoustic imaging, is emerging as a method for visualizing endocrine physiology and disease at different scales of detail: microscopic, mesoscopic and macroscopic. Optoacoustic contrast arises from endogenous light absorbers, such as oxygenated and deoxygenated haemoglobin, lipids and water, or exogenous contrast agents, and reveals tissue vasculature, perfusion, oxygenation, metabolic activity and inflammation. The development of high-performance optoacoustic scanners for use in humans has given rise to a variety of clinical investigations, which complement the use of the technology in preclinical research. Here, we review key progress with optoacoustic imaging technology as it relates to applications in endocrinology; for example, to visualize thyroid morphology and function, and the microvasculature in diabetes mellitus or adipose tissue metabolism, with particular focus on multispectral optoacoustic tomography and raster-scan optoacoustic mesoscopy. We explain the merits of optoacoustic microscopy and focus on mid-infrared optoacoustic microscopy, which enables label-free imaging of metabolites in cells and tissues. We showcase current optoacoustic applications within endocrinology and discuss the potential of these technologies to advance research and clinical practice.
Review
Review
Mishra, K. ; Fuenzalida Werner, J.P. ; Pennacchietti, F. [extern]* ; Janowski, R. ; Chmyrov, A. ; Huang, Y. ; Zakian Dominguez, C.M. ; Klemm, U. ; Testa, I. [extern]* ; Niessing, D. ; Ntziachristos, V. ; Stiel, A.-C.
Nat. Biotechnol., DOI: 10.1038/s41587-021-01100-5 (2021)
Reversibly photo-switchable proteins are essential for many super-resolution fluorescence microscopic and optoacoustic imaging methods. However, they have yet to be used as sensors that measure the distribution of specific analytes at the nanoscale or in the tissues of live animals. Here we constructed the prototype of a photo-switchable Ca2+ sensor based on GCaMP5G that can be switched with 405/488-nm light and describe its molecular mechanisms at the structural level, including the importance of the interaction of the core barrel structure of the fluorescent protein with the Ca2+ receptor moiety. We demonstrate super-resolution imaging of Ca2+ concentration in cultured cells and optoacoustic Ca2+ imaging in implanted tumor cells in mice under controlled Ca2+ conditions. Finally, we show the generalizability of the concept by constructing examples of photo-switching maltose and dopamine sensors based on periplasmatic binding protein and G-protein-coupled receptor-based sensors.Calcium and other analytes can be imaged at super-resolution and in vivo with photo-switchable sensors.
Wissenschaftlicher Artikel
Scientific Article
Westerveld, W.J.* ; Mahmud-Ul-Hasan, M.* ; Shnaiderman, R. ; Ntziachristos, V. ; Rottenberg, X.* ; Severi, S.* ; Rochus, V.*
Nat. Photonics 15, 341–345 (2021)
Ultrasonography1 and photoacoustic2,3 (optoacoustic) tomography have recently seen great advances in hardware and algorithms. However, current high-end systems still use a matrix of piezoelectric sensor elements, and new applications require sensors with high sensitivity, broadband detection, small size and scalability to a fine-pitch matrix. This work demonstrates an ultrasound sensor in silicon photonic technology with extreme sensitivity owing to an innovative optomechanical waveguide. This waveguide has a tiny 15 nm air gap between two movable parts, which we fabricated using new CMOS-compatible processing. The 20 μm small sensor has a noise equivalent pressure below 1.3 mPa Hz−1/2 in the measured range of 3–30 MHz, dominated by acoustomechanical noise. This is two orders of magnitude better than for piezoelectric elements of an identical size4. The demonstrated sensor matrix with on-chip photonic multiplexing5–7 offers the prospect of miniaturized catheters that have sensor matrices interrogated using just a few optical fibres, unlike piezoelectric sensors that typically use an electrical connection for each element.
Wissenschaftlicher Artikel
Scientific Article
Haedicke, K.* ; Agemy, L.* ; Omar, M. ; Berezhnoi, A. ; Roberts, S.* ; Longo-Machado, C.* ; Skubal, M.* ; Nagar, K.* ; Hsu, H.T.* ; Kim, K.* ; Reiner, T.* ; Coleman, J.* ; Ntziachristos, V. ; Scherz, A.* ; Grimm, J.*
Nat. Bio. Eng. 4, 286-297 (2020)
The monitoring of vascular-targeted therapies using magnetic resonance imaging, computed tomography or ultrasound is limited by their insufficient spatial resolution. Here, by taking advantage of the intrinsic optical properties of haemoglobin, we show that raster-scanning optoacoustic mesoscopy (RSOM) provides high-resolution images of the tumour vasculature and of the surrounding tissue, and that the detection of a wide range of ultrasound bandwidths enables the distinction of vessels of differing size, providing detailed insights into the vascular responses to vascular-targeted therapy. Using RSOM to examine the responses to vascular-targeted photodynamic therapy in mice with subcutaneous xenografts, we observed a substantial and immediate occlusion of the tumour vessels followed by haemorrhage within the tissue and the eventual collapse of the entire vasculature. Using dual-wavelength RSOM, which distinguishes oxyhaemoglobin from deoxyhaemoglobin, we observed an increase in oxygenation of the entire tumour volume immediately after the application of the therapy, and a second wave of oxygen reperfusion approximately 24 h thereafter. We also show that RSOM enables the quantification of differences in neoangiogenesis that predict treatment efficacy.
Wissenschaftlicher Artikel
Scientific Article
Pleitez, M.A. ; Ali Khan, A. ; Solda, A. ; Chmyrov, A. ; Reber, J. ; Gasparin, F. ; Seeger, M. ; Schätz, B. ; Herzig, S. ; Scheideler, M. ; Ntziachristos, V.
Nat. Biotechnol. 38, 293-296 (2020)
We develop mid-infrared optoacoustic microscopy (MiROM) for label-free, bond-selective, live-cell metabolic imaging, enabling spatiotemporal monitoring of carbohydrates, lipids and proteins in cells and tissues. Using acoustic detection of optical absorption, MiROM converts mid-infrared sensing into a positive-contrast imaging modality with negligible photodamage and high sensitivity. We use MiROM to observe changes in intrinsic carbohydrate distribution from a diffusive spatial pattern to tight co-localization with lipid droplets during adipogenesis.Mid-infrared optoacoustic microscopy enables label-free, bond-selective imaging in living cells
Wissenschaftlicher Artikel
Scientific Article
Shnaiderman, R. ; Wissmeyer, G. ; Ülgen, O. ; Mustafa, Q. ; Chmyrov, A. ; Ntziachristos, V.
Nature 585, 372-378 (2020)
The widely available silicon-on-insulator technology is used to develop a miniaturized ultrasound detector, which is 200 times smaller than the wavelengths of sound that it can detect.Ultrasound detectors use high-frequency sound waves to image objects and measure distances, but the resolution of these readings is limited by the physical dimensions of the detecting element. Point-like broadband ultrasound detection can greatly increase the resolution of ultrasonography and optoacoustic (photoacoustic) imaging(1,2), but current ultrasound detectors, such as those used for medical imaging, cannot be miniaturized sufficiently. Piezoelectric transducers lose sensitivity quadratically with size reduction(3), and optical microring resonators(4)and Fabry-Perot etalons(5)cannot adequately confine light to dimensions smaller than about 50 micrometres. Micromachining methods have been used to generate arrays of capacitive(6)and piezoelectric(7)transducers, but with bandwidths of only a few megahertz and dimensions exceeding 70 micrometres. Here we use the widely available silicon-on-insulator technology to develop a miniaturized ultrasound detector, with a sensing area of only 220 nanometres by 500 nanometres. The silicon-on-insulator-based optical resonator design provides per-area sensitivity that is 1,000 times higher than that of microring resonators and 100,000,000 times better than that of piezoelectric detectors. Our design also enables an ultrawide detection bandwidth, reaching 230 megahertz at -6 decibels. In addition to making the detectors suitable for manufacture in very dense arrays, we show that the submicrometre sensing area enables super-resolution detection and imaging performance. We demonstrate imaging of features 50 times smaller than the wavelength of ultrasound detected. Our detector enables ultra-miniaturization of ultrasound readings, enabling ultrasound imaging at a resolution comparable to that achieved with optical microscopy, and potentially enabling the development of very dense ultrasound arrays on a silicon chip.
Wissenschaftlicher Artikel
Scientific Article
Gottschalk, S. ; Degtyaruk, O. ; Mc Larney, B. ; Rebling, J. ; Hutter, M.A. ; Dean-Ben, X.L. ; Shoham, S.* ; Razansky, D.
Nat. Bio. Eng. 3, 392–401 (2019)
Efforts to scale neuroimaging towards the direct visualization of mammalian brain-wide neuronal activity have faced major challenges. Although high-resolution optical imaging of the whole brain in small animals has been achieved ex vivo, the real-time and direct monitoring of large-scale neuronal activity remains difficult, owing to the performance gap between localized, largely invasive, optical microscopy of rapid, cellular-resolved neuronal activity and whole-brain macroscopy of slow haemodynamics and metabolism. Here, we demonstrate both ex vivo and non-invasive in vivo functional optoacoustic (OA) neuroimaging of mice expressing the genetically encoded calcium indicator GCaMP6f. The approach offers rapid, high-resolution three-dimensional snapshots of whole-brain neuronal activity maps using single OA excitations, and of stimulus-evoked slow haemodynamics and fast calcium activity in the presence of strong haemoglobin background absorption. By providing direct neuroimaging at depths and spatiotemporal resolutions superior to optical fluorescence imaging, functional OA neuroimaging bridges the gap between functional microscopy and whole-brain macroscopy.
Wissenschaftlicher Artikel
Scientific Article
Nagengast, W.B.* ; Hartmans, E.* ; Garcia-Allende, P. ; Peters, F.T.M.* ; Linssen, M.D.* ; Koch, M. ; Köller, M.* ; Tjalma, J.J.J.* ; Karrenbeld, A.* ; Jorritsma-Smit, A.* ; Kleibeuker, J.H.* ; van Dam, G.M.* ; Ntziachristos, V.
Gut 68, 7-10 (2019)
Wissenschaftlicher Artikel
Scientific Article
Ntziachristos, V. ; Pleitez, M.A. ; Aime, S.* ; Brindle, K.M.*
Cell Metab. 29, 518-538 (2019)
Due to the implication of altered metabolism in a large spectrum of tissue function and disease, assessment of metabolic processes becomes essential in managing health. In this regard, imaging can play a critical role in allowing observation of biochemical and physiological processes. Nuclear imaging methods, in particular positron emission tomography, have been widely employed for imaging metabolism but are mainly limited by the use of ionizing radiation and the sensing of only one parameter at each scanning session. Observations in healthy individuals or longitudinal studies of disease could markedly benefit from non-ionizing, multi-parameter imaging methods. We therefore focus this review on progress with the non-ionizing radiation methods of MRI, hyperpolarized magnetic resonance and magnetic resonance spectroscopy, chemical exchange saturation transfer, and emerging optoacoustic (photoacoustic) imaging. We also briefly discuss the role of nuclear and optical imaging methods for research and clinical protocols.
Review
Review
Omar, M. ; Aguirre Bueno, J. ; Ntziachristos, V.
Nat. Bio. Eng. 3, 354-370 (2019)
Fuelled by innovation, optical microscopy plays a critical role in the life sciences and medicine, from basic discovery to clinical diagnostics. However, optical microscopy is limited by typical penetration depths of a few hundred micrometres for in vivo interrogations in the visible spectrum. Optoacoustic microscopy complements optical microscopy by imaging the absorption of light, but it is similarly limited by penetration depth. In this Review, we summarize progress in the development and applicability of optoacoustic mesoscopy (OPAM); that is, optoacoustic imaging with acoustic resolution and wide-bandwidth ultrasound detection. OPAM extends the capabilities of optical imaging beyond the depths accessible to optical and optoacoustic microscopy, and thus enables new applications. We explain the operational principles of OPAM, its placement as a bridge between optoacoustic microscopy and optoacoustic macroscopy, and its performance in the label-free visualization of tissue pathophysiology, such as inflammation, oxygenation, vascularization and angiogenesis. We also review emerging applications of OPAM in clinical and biological imaging.
Review
Review
Rogalla, S.* ; Flisikowski, K.* ; Gorpas, D. ; Mayer, A.T.* ; Flisikowska, T.* ; Mandella, M.J.* ; Ma, X. ; Casey, K.M.* ; Felt, S.A.* ; Saur, D.* ; Ntziachristos, V. ; Schnieke, A.* ; Contag, C.H.* ; Gambhir, S.S.* ; Harmsen, S.*
Adv. Func. Mat. 29:1904992 (2019)
Early and comprehensive endoscopic detection of colonic dysplasia-the most clinically significant precursor lesion to colorectal adenocarcinoma-provides an opportunity for timely, minimally invasive intervention to prevent malignant transformation. Here, the development and evaluation of biodegradable near-infrared fluorescent silica nanoparticles (FSN) that have the potential to improve adenoma detection during fluorescence-assisted white-light colonoscopic surveillance in rodent and human-scale models of colorectal carcinogenesis is described. FSNs are biodegradable (t(1/2) of 2.7 weeks), well-tolerated, and enable detection and delineation of adenomas as small as 0.5 mm(2) with high tumor-to-background ratios. Furthermore, in the human scale, APC(1311/+) porcine model, the clinical feasibility and benefit of using FSN-guided detection of colorectal adenomas using video-rate fluorescence-assisted white-light endoscopy is demon-strated. Since nanoparticles of similar size (e.g., 100-150 nm) or composition (i.e., silica and silica/gold hybrid) have already been successfully translated to the clinic, and clinical fluorescent/white-light endoscopy systems are becoming more readily available, there is a viable path towards clinical translation of the proposed strategy for early colorectal cancer detection and prevention in high-risk patients.
Wissenschaftlicher Artikel
Scientific Article
Koch, M. ; Symvoulidis, P. ; Ntziachristos, V.
Nat. Photonics 12, 505-515 (2018)
The emerging clinical use of targeted fluorescent agents heralds a shift in intraoperative imaging practices that overcome the limitations of human vision. However, in contrast to established radiological methods, no appropriate performance specifications and standards have been established in fluorescence molecular imaging. Moreover, the dependence of fluorescence signals on many experimental parameters and the use of wavelengths ranging from the visible to short-wave infrared (400–1,700 nm) complicate quality control in fluorescence molecular imaging. Here, we discuss the experimental parameters that critically affect fluorescence molecular imaging accuracy, and introduce the concept of high-fidelity fluorescence imaging as a means for ensuring reliable reproduction of fluorescence biodistribution in tissue.
Review
Review
Reber, J. ; Willershäuser, M.* ; Karlas, A. ; Paul-Yuan, K. ; Diot, G. ; Franz, D.* ; Fromme, T.* ; Ovsepian, S.V. ; Bézière, N. ; Dubikovskaya, E.* ; Karampinos, D.C.* ; Holzapfel, C.* ; Hauner, H.* ; Klingenspor, M.* ; Ntziachristos, V.
Cell Metab. 27, 689-701.e4 (2018)
Metabolism is a fundamental process of life. However, non-invasive measurement of local tissue metabolism is limited today by a deficiency in adequate tools for in vivo observations. We designed a multi-modular platform that explored the relation between local tissue oxygen consumption, determined by label-free optoacoustic measurements of hemoglobin, and concurrent indirect calorimetry obtained during metabolic activation of brown adipose tissue (BAT). By studying mice and humans, we show how video-rate handheld multi-spectral optoacoustic tomography (MSOT) in the 700-970 nm spectral range enables non-invasive imaging of BAT activation, consistent with positron emission tomography findings. Moreover, we observe BAT composition differences between healthy and diabetic tissues. The study consolidates hemoglobin as a principal label-free biomarker for longitudinal non-invasive imaging of BAT morphology and bioenergetics in situ. We also resolve water and fat components in volunteers, and contrast MSOT readouts with magnetic resonance imaging data.
Wissenschaftlicher Artikel
Scientific Article
Dean-Ben, X.L. ; Gottschalk, S. ; Mc Larney, B. ; Shoham, S.* ; Razansky, D.
Chem. Soc. Rev. 46, 2158-2198 (2017)
Visualization of dynamic functional and molecular events in an unperturbed in vivo environment is essential for understanding the complex biology of living organisms and of disease state and progression. To this end, optoacoustic (photoacoustic) sensing and imaging have demonstrated the exclusive capacity to maintain excellent optical contrast and high resolution in deep-tissue observations, far beyond the penetration limits of modern microscopy. Yet, the time domain is paramount for the observation and study of complex biological interactions that may be invisible in single snapshots of living systems. This review focuses on the recent advances in optoacoustic imaging assisted by smart molecular labeling and dynamic contrast enhancement approaches that enable new types of multiscale dynamic observations not attainable with other bio-imaging modalities. A wealth of investigated new research topics and clinical applications is further discussed, including imaging of large-scale brain activity patterns, volumetric visualization of moving organs and contrast agent kinetics, molecular imaging using targeted and genetically expressed labels, as well as three-dimensional handheld diagnostics of human subjects.
Wissenschaftlicher Artikel
Scientific Article
Symvoulidis, P. ; Lauri, A. ; Stefanoiu, A.* ; Cappetta, M. ; Schneider, S.* ; Jia, H.* ; Stelzl, A. ; Koch, M. ; Perez, C.C. ; Myklatun, A. ; Renninger, S.* ; Chmyrov, A. ; Lasser, T.* ; Wurst, W. ; Ntziachristos, V. ; Westmeyer, G.G.
Nat. Methods 14, 1079-1082 (2017)
A long-standing objective in neuroscience has been to image distributed neuronal activity in freely behaving animals. Here we introduce NeuBtracker, a tracking microscope for simultaneous imaging of neuronal activity and behavior of freely swimming fluorescent reporter fish. We showcase the value of NeuBtracker for screening neurostimulants with respect to their combined neuronal and behavioral effects and for determining spontaneous and stimulus-induced spatiotemporal patterns of neuronal activation during naturalistic behavior.
Wissenschaftlicher Artikel
Scientific Article
Du, Y.* ; Jiang, Q.* ; Bézière, N. ; Song, L.* ; Zhang, Q.* ; Peng, D.* ; Chi, C.L.* ; Yang, X.* ; Guo, H.* ; Diot, G. ; Ntziachristos, V. ; Ding, B.* ; Tian, J.*
Adv. Mater. 28, 10000-10007 (2016)
A functional cancer theranostic nanoplatform is developed, specifically tailored toward the optoacoustic modality by combining gold nanorods with DNA nanostructures (D-AuNR). DNA origami is used as an efficient delivery vehicle owing to its prominent tumor-targeting property. The D-AuNR hybrids display an enhanced tumor diagnostic sensitivity by improved optoacoustic imaging and excellent photothermal therapeutic properties in vivo.
Wissenschaftlicher Artikel
Scientific Article