Optical imaging is one of the most powerful and versatile preclinical imaging modalities. Two major methods can be employed: fluorescence and bioluminescence. For both techniques scatter limits image resolution and attenuation limits depth of imaging and the accuracy of quantification. This limits most applications to imaging of small animals, mostly mice and, to a lesser extent, rats.
In fluorescence illumination with light in the near infrared range permits detection of fluorescent light emitted by contrast agents injected. Such signals need to be discriminated against the background of autofluorescence emitted by the tissue exposed.
Bioluminescence imaging on the other hand has virtually no background signal since light is only produced chemically in locations where the injected substrate luciferin is oxidated when exposed to luciferase. This enzyme can be generated in a highly specific way be genetically engineered cells, reflecting specific physiological or pathological processes.
The MOIN CC is equipped with a broad range of optical imaging devices, as listed below: