Researchers in New South Wales, Australia, have created a Dermal Elastin Morphology Index (DEMI), using ex vivo skin samples and multiphon microscopy (MPM). For “A quantitative approach to histopathological dissection of elastin-related disorders using multiphoton microscopy” (British Journal of Dermatology, October 2013, vol. 164, no. 4), P.L. Tong, et al, took cross sections of skin samples from subjects with elastin-related disorders. They used MPM—due to its use of infrared light and autofluorescent signals—to image the samples through the intact epidermis. Image analysis software was then used to three-dimensionally quantify the elastic fibers.
The authors used the imaging to develop the DEMI, which is calculated as the ratio of elastic fiber surface area and volume. They write, “Quantitative scoring of sun-damaged skin using DEMI correlated with qualitative histopathological grading of the severity of solar elastosis. Furthermore, this approach was applied to changes in elastic fibre architecture in other disorders, such as pseudoxanthoma elasticum (PXE), PXE-like syndrome, elastofibroma, focal dermal elastosis, anetoderma, mid-dermal elastolysis and striae distensae. We imaged elastic fibres in intact ex vivo skin imaged en face through the epidermis, indicating that this approach could be used in vivo.”