Methylene blue-filled biodegradable polymer particles as a contrast agent for optical coherence tomography. Academic Article uri icon


  • Optical coherence tomography (OCT) images largely lack molecular information or molecular contrast. We address that issue here, reporting on the development of biodegradable micro and nano-spheres loaded with methylene blue (MB) as molecular contrast agents for OCT. MB is a constituent of FDA approved therapies and widely used as a dye in off-label clinical applications. The sequestration of MB within the polymer reduced toxicity and improved signal strength by drastically reducing the production of singlet oxygen and leuco-MB. The former leads to tissue damage and the latter to reduced image contrast. The spheres are also strongly scattering which improves molecular contrast signal localization and enhances signal strength. We demonstrate that these contrast agents may be imaged using both pump-probe OCT and photothermal OCT, using a 830 nm frequency domain OCT system and a 1.3 m swept source OCT system. We also show that these contrast agents may be functionalized and targeted to specific receptors, e.g. the VCAM receptor known to be overexpressed in inflammation.

published proceedings

  • Biomed Opt Express

altmetric score

  • 1.5

author list (cited authors)

  • Palma-Chavez, J. A., Kim, W., Serafino, M., Jo, J. A., Charoenphol, P., & Applegate, B. E.

citation count

  • 4

complete list of authors

  • Palma-Chavez, Jorge A||Kim, Wihan||Serafino, Michael||Jo, Javier A||Charoenphol, Phapanin||Applegate, Brian E

publication date

  • August 2020