Purpose: In vivo and in situ visualization of biomolecules without pretreatment will be important for diagnosis and treatment of ocular disorders in the future. Recently, multiphoton microscopy, based on the nonlinear interactions between molecules and photons, has been applied to reveal the localizations of various molecules in tissues. We aimed to use multimodal multiphoton microscopy to visualize the localizations of specific biomolecules in rat corneas. Methods: Multiphoton images of the corneas were obtained from nonlinear signals of coherent anti-Stokes Raman scattering, thirdorder sum frequency generation, and second-harmonic generation. Results: The localizations of the adhesion complex-containing basement membrane and Bowman layer were clearly visible in the third-order sum frequency generation images. The fine structure of type I collagen was observed in the corneal stroma in the second-harmonic generation images. The localizations of lipids, proteins, and nucleic acids (DNA/ RNA) was obtained in the coherent anti-Stokes Raman scattering images. Conclusions: Imaging technologies have progressed significantly and been applied in medical fields. Optical coherence tomography and confocal microscopy are widely used but do not provide information on the molecular structure of the cornea. By contrast, multiphoton microscopy provides information on the molecular structure of living tissues. Using this technique, we successfully visualized the localizations of various biomolecules including lipids, proteins, and nucleic acids in the cornea. We speculate that multiphoton microscopy will provide essential information on the physiological and pathological conditions of the cornea, as well as molecular localizations in tissues without pretreatment.
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