Kidneys normally filter the blood of excess salts and metabolic products, such as urea, while retaining plasma proteins. In diseases such as multiple myeloma and diabetes mellitus, the renal function is compromised and protein escapes into the urine. In this study, we present the use of fluorescence lifetime imaging (FLI) to image excess serum protein in urine (proteinuria). The near-infrared fluorescent dye LS-288 has distinct lifetimes when bound to protein versus free in solution, providing contrast between the protein-rich viscera and the mostly protein-free bladder. FLI with LS-288 in mice revealed that fluorescence lifetime (FLT) differences in the bladder relative to surrounding tissues was due to the fractional contributions of the bound and unbound dye molecules. The FLT of LS-288 decreased in the case of proteinuria while fluorescence intensity was unchanged. The results show that FLI can be useful for the dynamic imaging of protein-losing nephropathy due to diabetes mellitus and other renal diseases and suggest the potential use of the FLI to distinguish tumors from fluid-filled cysts in the body.
- fluorescence lifetime
- optical imaging