Probing cell proliferation in the human colon using vibrational spectroscopy: A novel use of FTIR-microspectroscopy

A. Salman, R. K. Sahu, E. Bernshtain, U. Zelig, J. Goldstein, S. Walfisch, S. Argov, S. Mordechai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


Recently, Fourier transform infrared (FTIR)-spectroscopy has been used to monitor cell growth by several works. Conventionally, the study of cell and tissue dynamics at molecular levels is carried out through various approaches like histochemical methods, application of molecular biology and immunology. Colonic crypts display a pattern in cell growth along their height. Histologically normal sections obtained from formalin fixed biopsies of colon cancer patients were studied in the present work through vibrational spectroscopy. The evolution and development of the normal human colonic crypts manifested in Fourier transform infrared-microspectroscopy (FTIR-MSP) as spectral changes in the levels of nucleic acids, proteins, carbohydrates and lipids. The results indicate that the level of carbohydrates, nucleic acids and lipids increases only till the middle of the crypt up to which the maturation zone is restricted and thereafter decreases till the top where the cells are exfoliated. These observations are in coherence with earlier reports on crypt proliferation. We identify the normal pattern of various biochemicals along the colonic crypt based on data analyzed from FTIR-MSP. This study affords an important example of the application of microscopic vibrational spectroscopy for understanding basic cell processes from formalin fixed tissues where in vivo studies and immunological methods are not feasible.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)301-308
Number of pages8
JournalVibrational Spectroscopy
Issue number2
StatePublished - 31 Mar 2004


  • Cell dynamics
  • Crypt proliferation
  • Fourier transform infrared microspectroscopy
  • Metabolites
  • Vibrational spectroscopy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Spectroscopy


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