The purpose of this research project is to assess mice colon wall, using three optical modalities (conventional endoscopy, confocal endomicroscopy and optical spectroscopy) and endoluminal MRI. The study is done in the context of inflammatory bowel disease and colorectal cancer that represent 13% of new cases of cancer, every year in western countries.
An optical spectroscopic bench (autofluorescence and reflectance) was developed with a flexible fiber probe. This latter has been combined with a mini multi-purpose rigid endoscope and a confocal endomicroscope. The optical modalities were first used in vivo on SWISS mice. Then, a specific optical a phantom (containing two layers of distinct fluorophores) was developed in order to evaluate our two-channel spectroscopic probe as a basic depth-sensitive measurement tool.
The preliminary results show the feasibility to combine such modalities in the same in vivo protocol. Conventional endoscopy is useful to depict inflammation along colon wall. Confocal endomicroscopy provides high-contrasted images of microvascularization. Measured optical spectra both depend on biochemical tissue content and layered structure of the medium. The light collected from one channel is not similar to the other, in terms of intensity and spectroscopic profile as the interaction with the medium observed volume is different. A comparative analysis of the spectra based on our in vitro model exhibits a strong correlation between simple index extracted from spectral data and two main phantom characteristics (fluorophore concentrations and superficial layer thickness). This work suggests that this technique could contribute to assess tissues alterations through autofluorescence spectroscopic measurement under endoscopy.
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