Highly sensitive detection of human papillomavirus type 16 dna using time. resolved fluorescence microscopy and long lifetime probes

Xue Feng Wang, Ammasi Periasamy, Pawel Wodnicki, M. Siadat-Pajouh, Brian Herman

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review


We have been interested in the role of Human Papillomavirus (HPV) in cervical cancer and its diagnosis; to that end we have been developing microscopic imaging and fluorescent in situ hybridization (FISH) techniques to genotype and quantitate the amount of HPV present at a single cell level in cervical PAP smears. However, we have found that low levels of HPV DNA are difficult to detect accurately because theoretically obtainable sensitivity is never achieved due to nonspecific autofluorescence, fixative induced fluorescence of cells and tissues, and autofluorescence of the optical components in the microscopic system. In addition, the absorption stains used for PAP smears are intensely autofluorescent. Autofluorescence is a rapidly decaying process with lifetimes in the range of 1-100 nsec, whereas phosphorescence and delayed fluorescence have lifetimes in the range of 1 psec-10 msec. The ability to discriminate between specific fluorescence and autofluorescence in the time-domain has improved the sensitivity of diagnostic test such that they perform comparably to, or even more sensitive than radioisotopic assays. We have developed a novel time-resolved fluorescence microscope to improve the sensitivity of detection of specific molecules of interest in slide based specimens. This time-resolved fluorescence microscope is based on our recently developed fluorescence lifetime imaging microscopy (Fl.11M) in conjunction with the use of long lifetime fluorescent labels. By using fluorescence in situ hybridization and the long lifetime probe (europium), we have demonstrated the utility of this technique for detection of HPV DNA in cervicovaginal cells. Our results indicate that the use of time-resolved fluorescence microscopy and long lifetime probes increases the sensitivity of detection by removing autofluorescence and will thus lead to improved early diagnosis of cervical cancer. Since the highly sensitive detection of DNA in clinical samples using fluorescence in situ hybridization image is useful for the diagnosis of many other type of diseases, the system we have developed should find numerous applications for the diagnosis of disease states.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)162-168
Number of pages7
JournalProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
StatePublished - Apr 12 1995
Externally publishedYes
EventAdvances in Laser and Light Spectroscopy to Diagnose Cancer and Other Diseases II 1995 - San Jose, United States
Duration: Feb 1 1995Feb 28 1995


  • Cancer Diagnosis.
  • Fluorescence Lifetime Imaging Microscopy
  • Fluorescent in situ Hybridization
  • Long Lifetime Probes
  • Time-Resolved Fluorescence Microscopy


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