In vivo chemical investigation of human skin using a confocal Raman fiber optic microprobe.J Biomed Opt. 2005 Jul-Aug; 10(4):44007.JB
To evaluate the potential of a new in vivo confocal Raman microprobe, we undertake a pilot study in human skin. A fiber optic probe is operated with a 633-nm laser and trials are conducted in healthy volunteers. We examine changes in molecular composition and structure of the stratum corneum, from different volunteers, from different anatomical sites and skin layers. Main spectral variations are detected in the following regions: 800 to 900 cm(-1) (amino acids); 1200 to 1290 cm(-1) (proteins); and 1030 to 1130 cm(-1), 1300 to 1450 cm(-1), and 2800 to 2900 cm(-1) (lipids). Curve fitting of the amide 1 region performs in detail protein secondary structural variations of the amide 1 band. Protein conformation is also found to vary depending on the anatomical site and volunteer. Similar analysis of the 730- to 1170-cm(-1) spectral window reveals a different organization of lamellar lipids: gel for forearm and palm, and liquid-crystalline phase for fingertips. All these variations result from changes in the stratum corneum components such as natural moisturizing factor (NMF), lipids (namely ceramides), and water. Hierarchical clustering classification is also performed to sort out Raman data obtained from different subjects. Further improvement of the confocal probe would be to adapt a 360-deg configuration enabling access to other anatomical sites.