Multiphoton Absorption is Probably Not the Primary Threshold Damage Mechanism for Femtosecond Laser Pulse Exposures in the Retinal Pigment Epithelium
TEXAS UNIV HEALTH SCIENCE CENTER AT SAN ANTONIO DEPT OF OPHTHALMOLOGY
Pagination or Media Count:
Laser induced breakdown has the lowest energy threshold in the femtosecond domain, and is responsible for production of threshold ocular lesions. It has been proposed that multiphoton absorption may also contribute to ultrashort-pulse tissue damage, based on the observation that 33 fs, 810 nm pulse laser exposures caused more DNA breakage in cultured, primary RPE cells, compared to CW laser exposures delivering the same average power. Subsequent studies, demonstrating two-photon excitation of fluorescence in isolated RPE melanosomes, appeared to support the role of multiphoton absorption, but mainly at suprathreshold irradiance. Additional experiments have not found a consistent difference in the DNA strand breakage produced by ultrashort and CW threshold exposures. DNA damage appears to be dependent on the amount of melanin pigmentation in the cells, rather than the pulsewidth of the laser current studies have found that, at threshold, CW and ultrashort pulse laser exposures produce almost identical amounts of DNA breakage. A theoretical analysis suggests that the number of photons delivered to the RPE melanosome during a single 33-fsec pulse at the ED50 irradiance is insufficient to produce multiphoton excitation. This result appears to exclude the melanosome as a locus for two- or three-photon excitation however, a structure with a larger effective absorption cross- section than the melanosome may interact with the laser pulses. One possibility is that the nuclear chromatin acts as a unit absorber of photons resulting in DNA damage, but this docs not explain the near equivalence of ultrashort and CW exposures in the comet assay model. This equivalence indicates that multiphoton absorption is not a major contributor to the ultrashort pulse laser damage threshold in the near infrared.
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