J Korean Med Assoc.  2004 Feb;47(2):127-132. 10.5124/jkma.2004.47.2.127.

Optical Imaging in the Field of Molecular Imaging

  • 1Department of Neurology, Seoul National University College of Medicine and Hospital, Korea. rohjk@snu.ac.kr
  • 2Center for Molecular Imaging Research, Harvard Medical School, Korea. kdongeog@partners.org


Molecular imaging is leading an important role in the era of molecular medicine. Optical imaging, a rising star in the filed of molecular imaging, largely consists of fluorescent imaging and bioluminescent imaging. In the fluorescence imaging, an illuminating light excites fluorescent reporters in the living subject, and a charged coupled device (CCD) camera collects an emission light of shifted wavelength. In the bioluminescent imaging, reporter genes code for the luciferase that is responsible for fireflies' glow. After the injection of the substrate iuciferin, animals carrying the luciferase gene are imaged with a supersensitive CCD camera to pick up the small number of photons transmitted through tissues. It has been shown that well aimed and creatively built reporters let researchers explore and answer a lot of biologically important questions in living subjects. Despite its relatively short history, optical imaging is rapidly being implemented in various clinical areas as well as research fields.


Molecular imaging; Optical imaging; Fluorescent imaging; Bioluminescent imaging; Molecular medicine

MeSH Terms

Genes, Reporter
Linear Energy Transfer
Molecular Imaging*
Molecular Medicine
Optical Imaging*


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