Cells store excess energy in the form of cytoplasmic lipid droplets. At present, it is unclear how different types of fatty acids contribute to the formation of lipid droplets. We describe a compound Raman microscope capable of both high-speed chemical imaging and quantitative spectral analysis on the same platform. We used a picosecond laser source to perform coherent Raman scattering imaging of a biological sample and confocal Raman spectral analysis at points of interest. The potential of the compound Raman microscope was evaluated on lipid bodies of cultured cells and live animals. Our data indicate that the in vivo fat contains much more unsaturated fatty acids (FAs) than the fat formed via de novo synthesis in 3T3-L1 cells. Furthermore, in vivo analysis of subcutaneous adipocytes and glands revealed a dramatic difference not only in the unsaturation level but also in the thermodynamic state of FAs inside their lipid bodies. Additionally, the compound Raman microscope allows tracking of the cellular uptake of a specific fatty acid and its abundance in nascent cytoplasmic lipid droplets. The high-speed vibrational imaging and spectral analysis capability renders compound Raman microscopy an indispensible analytical tool for the study of lipid-droplet biology.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Materials Chemistry
- Surfaces, Coatings and Films
- Physical and Theoretical Chemistry