Optimizing modulation frequency for structured illumination in a fiber-optic microendoscope to image nuclear morphometry in columnar epithelium
Fiber-optic microendoscopes have shown promise to image the changes in nuclear morphometry that accompany the development of precancerous lesions in tissue with squamous epithelium such as in the oral mucosa and cervix. However, fiber-optic microendoscopy image contrast is limited by out-of-focus light generated by scattering within tissue. The scattering coefficient of tissues with columnar epithelium can be greater than that of squamous epithelium resulting in decreased image quality. To address this challenge, we present a small and portable microendoscope system capable of performing optical sectioning using structured illumination (SI) in real-time. Several optical phantoms were developed and used to quantify the sectioning capabilities of the system. Columnar epithelium from cervical tissue specimens was then imaged ex vivo, and we demonstrate that the addition of SI achieves higher image contrast, enabling visualization of nuclear morphology.