Topical steroids are known for their anti-inflammatory properties and are commonly prescribed to treat many adverse skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis. While these treatments are known to be effective, adverse effects including skin atrophy are common. In this study, the progression of these effects is investigated in an in vivo mouse model using multimodal optical microscopy. Utilizing a system capable of performing two-photon excitation fluorescence microscopy (TPEF) of reduced nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NADH) to visualize the epidermal cell layers and second harmonic generation (SHG) microscopy to identify collagen in the dermis, these processes can be studied at the cellular level. Fluorescence lifetime imaging microscopy (FLIM) is also utilized to image intracellular NADH levels to obtain molecular information regarding metabolic activity following steroid treatment. In this study, fluticasone propionate (FP)-treated, mometasone furoate (MF)-treated and untreated animals were imaged longitudinally using a custom-built multimodal optical microscope. Prolonged steroid treatment over the course of 21 days is shown to result in a significant increase in mean fluorescence lifetime of NADH, suggesting a faster rate of maturation of epidermal keratinocytes. Alterations to collagen organization and the structural microenvironment are also observed. These results give insight into the structural and biochemical processes of skin atrophy associated with prolonged steroid treatment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)362-367
Number of pages6
JournalExperimental Dermatology
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1 2016


  • Fluorescence lifetime imaging microscopy
  • Multiphoton microscopy
  • Second harmonic generation microscopy
  • Skin atrophy
  • Topical steroids

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Dermatology

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