Brain metabolism monitoring through CCO measurements using all-fiber-integrated super-continuum source

Mohammed N. Islam*, Kaiwen Guo, Tianqu Zhai, Allyssa K. Memmini, Ramon Martinez, Cynthia N. Meah, Ioulia Kovelman, Daniel Weissman, Xiaosu Hu, Jessica Kim, Steven Broglio, Daniel Beard, Francoise Van Den Bergh, Hasan Alam, Rachel Russo

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


For monitoring of concussion, brain function, organ condition and other medical applications, what is needed is a non-invasive method of monitoring tissue metabolism. MRI-based functional imaging technology detects changes in blood oxygenation, a correlate of neural activity, and thus may offer a prediction of prognosis in cases of concussion and other cerebral traumas. Yet, potential relationships between perturbations to cerebral metabolism and patient outcomes cannot be effectively exploited clinically because we lack a practical, low-cost, non-invasive means to monitor cerebral oxygenation and metabolism in the emergency department, operating room, or medical facilities. We have developed a device to optically assay the redox state of Cytochrome-C-Oxidase (CCO), the mitochondrial enzyme responsible for the last step of the electron transport chain. Changes in CCO redox reflect changes in respiratory flux, and thus changes in the rate of oxidative adenosine triphosphate (ATP) synthesis. In other words, changes in CCO reflect brain cell's metabolic activity more directly than the traditional blood oxygenation measurement methods. To non-invasively measure changes in CCO as well as blood oxygenation, we have developed a SuperContinuum Infrared Spectroscopy of Cytochrome-C-Oxidase (SCISCCO) system that uses an all-fiber integrated, supercontinuum light source to simultaneously measure both of the new (CCO) and the traditional (blood oxygenation) markers of neural metabolism. The SCISCCO system is validated by confirming the near-infrared spectrum of CCO in vitro. To demonstrate in vivo feasibility, the measured responses of oxygenation and CCO responses to acute ischemia (e.g., blood pressure tests) in human participants are compared to data from the literature. Furthermore, we show that the new device's measurements of oxygenated (HbO) and deoxygenated (HbR) hemoglobin in response to breath hold challenges are principled and consistent with previously reported findings. The validated SCISCCO system is finally applied to measure cerebral oxygenation and the redox state of CCO in participants during an attention test protocol. Twenty-five healthy adults completed an attention task that included nine 60-second periods of attention task, interleaved with 60-s periods of resting baseline. It has been well established that the frontal lobe of the human brain is active during tasks of attention. We therefore predicted that attention task should elicit an increase in HbO concentration accompanied by a decrease in redox state of CCO (e.g., ratio of oxidized CCO to reduced CCO) in frontal lobe brain regions as measured with the SCISCCO system. Our findings are consistent with our predictions: HbO concentration increases while CCO concentration decreases during the attention blocks relative to the resting baseline, thereby indicating an increase in oxidative metabolism of the frontal lobe brain regions of interest. Our systematic, multi-method approach thus validates the new device as well as the validity of the metabolic biomarkers that it measures. The SCISCCO system could be a new tool for monitoring brain and organ metabolism, which could be invaluable for screening concussion patients or use in an operating or emergency room to gauge patient's organ response to treatments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationOptical Biopsy XVIII
Subtitle of host publicationToward Real-Time Spectroscopic Imaging and Diagnosis
EditorsRobert R. Alfano, Stavros G. Demos, Angela B. Seddon
ISBN (Electronic)9781510632318
StatePublished - 2020
Externally publishedYes
EventOptical Biopsy XVIII: Toward Real-Time Spectroscopic Imaging and Diagnosis 2020 - San Francisco, United States
Duration: Feb 2 2020Feb 5 2020

Publication series

NameProgress in Biomedical Optics and Imaging - Proceedings of SPIE
ISSN (Print)1605-7422


ConferenceOptical Biopsy XVIII: Toward Real-Time Spectroscopic Imaging and Diagnosis 2020
CountryUnited States
CitySan Francisco

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Biomaterials
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging

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