Fluorescent probes concentration estimation in vitro and ex vivo as a model for early detection of Alzheimer's disease

Osnat Harbater*, Israel Gannot

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The pathogenic process of Alzheimer's disease (AD) begins years before clinical diagnosis. Here, we suggest a method that may detect AD several years earlier than current exams. The method is based on previous reports that relate the concentration ratio of biomarkers (amyloid-beta and tau) in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) to the development of AD. Our method replaces the lumbar puncture process required for CSF drawing by using fluorescence measurements. The system uses an optical fiber coupled to a laser source and a detector. The laser radiation excites two fluorescent probes which may bond to the CSF biomarkers. Their concentration ratio is extracted from the fluorescence intensities and can be used for future AD detection. First, we present a theoretical model for fluorescence concentration ratio estimation. The method's feasibility was validated using Monte Carlo simulations. Its accuracy was then tested using multilayered tissue phantoms simulating the epidural fat, CSF, and bone. These phantoms have various optical properties, thicknesses, and fluorescence concentrations in order to simulate human anatomy variations and different fiber locations. The method was further tested using ex vivo chicken tissue. The average errors of the estimated concentration ratios were low both in vitro (4.4%) and ex vivo (10.9%), demonstrating high accuracy.

Original languageEnglish
Article number127007
JournalJournal of Biomedical Optics
Issue number12
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2014


  • Alzheimer
  • disease markers
  • fluorescence
  • light scattering
  • phantom experiments


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