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Journal of Biomedicine and Biotechnology
Volume 2010 (2010), Article ID 101864, 10 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2010/101864
Review Article

Optical Spectroscopy for Noninvasive Monitoring of Stem Cell Differentiation

School of Engineering, The University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh EH9 3JL, UK

Received 25 August 2009; Revised 13 October 2009; Accepted 11 November 2009

Academic Editor: Pierre Bagnaninchi

Copyright © 2010 Andrew Downes et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

There is a requirement for a noninvasive technique to monitor stem cell differentiation. Several candidates based on optical spectroscopy are discussed in this review: Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy, Raman spectroscopy, and coherent anti-Stokes Raman scattering (CARS) microscopy. These techniques are briefly described, and the ability of each to distinguish undifferentiated from differentiated cells is discussed. FTIR spectroscopy has demonstrated its ability to distinguish between stem cells and their derivatives. Raman spectroscopy shows a clear reduction in DNA and RNA concentrations during embryonic stem cell differentiation (agreeing with the well-known reduction in the nucleus to cytoplasm ratio) and also shows clear increases in mineral content during differentiation of mesenchymal stem cells. CARS microscopy can map these DNA, RNA, and mineral concentrations at high speed, and Mutliplex CARS spectroscopy/microscopy is highlighted as the technique with most promise for future applications.