Rapid identification of human muscle disease with fibre optic Raman spectroscopy

James J P Alix, Maria Plesia, Gavin R Lloyd, Alexander P Dudgeon, Catherine A Kendall, Channa Hewamadduma, Marios Hadjivassiliou, Christopher J McDermott, Gráinne S Gorman, Robert W Taylor, Pamela J Shaw, John C C Day

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)
16 Downloads (Pure)


The diagnosis of muscle disorders ("myopathies") can be challenging and new biomarkers of disease are required to enhance clinical practice and research. Despite advances in areas such as imaging and genomic medicine, muscle biopsy remains an important but time-consuming investigation. Raman spectroscopy is a vibrational spectroscopy application that could provide a rapid analysis of muscle tissue, as it requires no sample preparation and is simple to perform. Here, we investigated the feasibility of using a miniaturised, portable fibre optic Raman system for the rapid identification of muscle disease. Samples were assessed from 27 patients with a final clinico-pathological diagnosis of a myopathy and 17 patients in whom investigations and clinical follow-up excluded myopathy. Multivariate classification techniques achieved accuracies ranging between 71-77%. To explore the potential of Raman spectroscopy to identify different myopathies, patients were subdivided into mitochondrial and non-mitochondrial myopathy groups. Classification accuracies were between 74-89%. Observed spectral changes were related to changes in protein structure. These data indicate fibre optic Raman spectroscopy is a promising technique for the rapid identification of muscle disease that could provide real time diagnostic information. The application of fibre optic Raman technology raises the prospect of in vivo bedside testing for muscle diseases which would significantly streamline the diagnostic pathway of these disorders.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2533-2540
Number of pages8
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 30 May 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The work was supported by an Academy of Medical Sciences Starter grant (JJPA, SGL015\1001) and a Medical Research Council Confidence in Concept award (J. J. P. A., J. C. D., P. J. S., MC_PC_15034). PJS is supported as a National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Senior Investigator (NF-SI-0617-10077) and by the NIHR Sheffield Biomedical Research Centre (IS-BRC-1215-20017). RWT and GSG are supported by the Wellcome Centre for Mitochondrial Research (203105/Z/16/Z), the Mitochondrial Disease Patient Cohort (UK) (G0800674), the Lily Foundation, the NIHR Newcastle Biomedical Research Centre and the UK NHS Specialised Commissioners who fund the “Rare Mitochondrial Disorders of Adults and Children” Service in Newcastle upon Tyne. RWT receives additional support from the Medical Research Council (MRC) International Centre for Genomic Medicine in Neuromuscular Disease (MR/S005021/1) and the Pathology Society. This research was funded in part, by the Wellcome Trust (203105/Z/16/Z). For the purpose of Open Access, the author has applied a CC BY public copyright licence to any Author Accepted Manuscript version arising from this submission.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 The Royal Society of Chemistry.


  • Fiber Optic Technology/methods
  • Humans
  • Muscles
  • Muscular Diseases/diagnosis
  • Spectrum Analysis, Raman/methods


Dive into the research topics of 'Rapid identification of human muscle disease with fibre optic Raman spectroscopy'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this