Photoacoustic microscopy of tyrosinase reporter gene in vivo

Arie Krumholz, Sarah J. Vanvickle-Chavez, Junjie Yao, Timothy P. Fleming, William E. Gillanders, Lihong V. Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

79 Scopus citations


Photoacoustic tomography is a hybrid modality based on optical absorption excitation and ultrasonic detection. It is sensitive to melanin, one of the primary absorbers in skin. For cells that do not naturally contain melanin, melanin production can be induced by introducing the gene for tyrosinase, the primary enzyme responsible for expression of melanin in melanogenic cells. Optical resolution photoacoustic microscopy was used in the ex vivo study reported here, where the signal from transfected cells increased by more than 10 times over wild-type cells. A subsequent in vivo experiment was conducted to demonstrate the capability of photoacoustic microscopy to spectrally differentiate between tyrosinase-catalyzed melanin and various other absorbers in tissue.

Original languageEnglish
Article number080503
JournalJournal of biomedical optics
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2011


  • contrast agent
  • molecular imaging
  • photoacoustic tomography
  • reporter gene
  • tyrosinase


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