Label-free optical imaging of cell function and collagen structure for cell-based therapies

Linghao Hu, Samantha Morganti, Uyen Nguyen, Oscar R. Benavides, Alex J. Walsh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Cell-based therapies harness functional cells or tissues to mediate healing and treat disease. Assessment of cellular therapeutics requires methods that are non-destructive to ensure therapies remain viable and uncontaminated for use in patients. Optical imaging of endogenous collagen, by second-harmonic generation, and the metabolic coenzymes NADH and FAD, by autofluorescence microscopy, provides tissue structure and cellular information. Here, we review applications of label-free nonlinear optical imaging of cellular metabolism and collagen second-harmonic generation for assessing cell-based therapies. Additionally, we discuss the potential of label-free imaging for quality control of cell-based therapies, as well as the current limitations and potential future directions of label-free imaging technologies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number100433
JournalCurrent Opinion in Biomedical Engineering
StatePublished - Mar 2023


  • Collagen
  • Cytotherapy
  • Fluorescence
  • Metabolism
  • Microscopy
  • Regenerative engineering

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Biomaterials
  • Biomedical Engineering


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