Multiphoton microscopy is the preferred method when in vivo deep-tissue imaging is required. This review presents the application of multiphoton microscopy in defining liver function. In particular, multiphoton microscopy is useful in imaging intracellular events, such as mitochondrial depolarization and cellular metabolism in terms of NAD(P)H changes with fluorescence lifetime imaging microscopy. The morphology of hepatocytes can be visualized without exogenously administered fluorescent dyes by utilizing their autofluorescence and second harmonic generation signal of collagen, which is useful in diagnosing liver disease. More specific imaging, such as studying drug transport in normal and diseased livers are achievable, but require exogenously administered fluorescent dyes. If these techniques can be translated into clinical use to assess liver function, it would greatly improve early diagnosis of organ viability, fibrosis, and cancer.
- drug transport
- fluorescence lifetime imaging microscopy
- hepatocellular carcinoma
- multiphoton microscopy
- second harmonic generation