Imaging of enthesitis by an LED-based photoacoustic system

Junggun Jo, Guan Xu, Elena Schiopu, David Chamberland, Girish Gandikota, Xueding Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Significance: One key pathological characteristic of seronegative spondyloarthropathy (SpA) is inflammation at the insertion of tendons and ligaments into the bone (enthesitis). Aim: We explore the potential of the emerging photoacoustic (PA) imaging in diagnosis of SpA and review its feasibility in detecting SpA-associated Achilles tendon enthesitis. Approach: A light-emitting diode (LED)-based PA and ultrasound combined system was employed. The PA images, both along the long and the short axes of each Achilles tendon insertion region, were acquired at 850-nm wavelength, which is sensitive in depicting increased blood volume (i.e., hyperemia). To assess the hyperemia indicating enthesis inflammation, two parameters were quantified in the imaged tendons, including the average intensity and the density of the color pixels in the pseudo-color PA images. Ten SpA patients, all of which met Assessment of SpA International Society (ASAS) criteria for SpA and were found to have Achilles enthesitis by clinical exam according to a board-certified rheumatologist, were included in the study. Results: The PA and Doppler ultrasound imaging of Achilles enthesitis resulting from these 10 SpA patients were compared to those from 10 healthy volunteers, leading to statistically significant differences (p < 0.05) in the applied t-tests. Conclusions: This preliminary clinical study suggests that the LED-based PA imaging holds a promise for sensitive and objective assessment of SpA enthesitis in an outpatient setting of the rheumatology clinic.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number126005
JournalJournal of Biomedical Optics
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • hyperemia
  • light-emitting diode
  • photoacoustic imaging
  • psoriatic arthritis
  • tendon inflammation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Biomaterials
  • Biomedical Engineering


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