Fluorescence spectroscopy has the potential to improve the in vivo detection of intraepithelial neoplasias; however, the presence of inflammation can sometimes result in misclassifications. Inflammation is a common and important pathologic condition of epithelial tissues that can exist alone or in combination with neoplasia. It has not only been associated with the presence of cancer but also with the initiation of cancer by damage induced due to the oxidative activity of inflammatory cells. Microscopic examination of cervical biopsies has shown increased numbers of polymorphonuclear and mononuclear leukocytes in inflamed tissues mostly confined to the stroma. The purpose of this study was to characterize the fluorescence properties of human polymorpho- and mononuclear leukocytes and compare their fluorescence to that of cervical cancer cells. Human neutrophils were purified from peripheral blood and their fluorescence characterized over an excitation range of 250–550 nm. There are four notable excitation emission maxima: the tryptophan peak at 290 nm excitation, 330 nm emission; the NAD(P)H peak at 350 nm excitation, 450 nm emission, the FAD peak at 450 nm excitation, 530 nm emission and an unidentified peak at 500 nm excitation, 530 nm emission. Treatment of these peripheral blood neutrophils with 40 nM phorbol myristate acetate or with the chemotactic peptide formyl-Met-Leu Phe (1 μM) demonstrated a significant increase in NAD(P)H fluorescence. Isolated mononuclear cells have similar emission peaks for tryptophan and NAD(P)H and a small broad peak at 450 nm excitation, 530 nm emission suggestive of FAD. Comparison of the fluorescence from leukocytes to epithelial cancer cell fluorescence has demonstrated the presence of these fluorophores in different quantities per cell. The most notable difference is the high level of tryptophan in cervical epithelial cancer cells, thus offering the potential for discrimination of inflammation.
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Vol. 71 • No. 3