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Journal of Chinese Integrative Medicine ›› 2012, Vol. 10 ›› Issue (11): 1263-1271.doi: 10.3736/jcim20121110

• Original Clinical Research • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Chromaticity and optical spectrum colorimetry of the tongue color in different syndromes of primary hepatic carcinoma

Ying Xu1, Chang-chun Zeng1(), Xiu-yu Cai2, Rong-ping Guo2, Guang Nie3, Ying Jin1   

  1. 1. Laboratory of Photonic Chinese Medicine, College of Biophotonics, South China Normal University, Guangzhou 510631, Guangdong Province, China
    2. Cancer Center, Sun Yet-sen University, Guangzhou 510060, Guangdong Province, China
    3. Institute of Liver Diseases, Shenzhen Third Peopled Hospital, Shenzhen 518112, Guangdong Province, China
  • Received:2016-06-21 Accepted:2012-07-09 Online:2012-11-20 Published:2018-11-15

Objective: In this study, the optical data of tongue color of different syndromes in primary hepatic carcinoma (PHC) were detected by optical spectrum colorimetry, and the chromaticity of tongue color was compared and analyzed. The tongue color characteristics of different syndromes in PHC and the relationship between different syndromes and tongue color were also investigated.

Methods: Tongue color data from 133 eligible PHC patients were collected by optical spectrum colorimetry and the patients were divided into 4 syndrome groups according to their clinical features. The syndrome groups were liver depression and spleen deficiency (LDSD), accumulation of damp-heat (ADH), deficiency of liver and kidney yin (DLKY), and qi stagnation and blood stasis (QSBS). The variation characteristics of chromaticity coordinates, dominant wavelength, excitation purity and the distribution in the International Commission on Illumination (CIE) LAB uniform color space were measured. At the same time, the differences of overall chromatism, clarity, chroma, saturation and hue were also calculated and analyzed.

Results: PHC patients in different syndrome groups exhibited differences in chromaticity coordinates. The dominant wavelength of QSBS was distinctly different from that of the other 3 syndromes. Excitation purity in the syndromes of LDSD, ADH and DLKY showed gradual increases (P<0.01). Different syndromes in the CIE LAB color three-dimensional space showed differences in tongue color distribution areas. The CIE hue-angle value of QSBS was negative, and different from that of the other 3 syndromes (P<0.01). CIE chroma in the syndromes of LDSD, ADH and DLKY showed gradual increases (P<0.01), the same as excitation purity. In the comparison of chromatism, tongue color variations in different syndromes were quantified by human observation.

Conclusion: This study shows that tongue color diagnosis according to the syndrome classifications of traditional Chinese medicine can be quantified with optical spectrum colorimetry technology. Different syndromes in PHC exhibit distinct chromatisms of tongue color through the calculation and analysis of chromaticity parameters of CIE, combined with colorimetric system and CIE LAB color space, and these are consistent with the characteristics of clinical tongue color. Applying optical spectrum colorimetry technology to tongue color differentiation has the potential to serve as a reference point in standardizing traditional Chinese medicine syndrome classification in PHC.

Key words: liver neoplasms, tongue inspection, tongue color, syndrome classification, optical spectrum colorimetry, chromaticity, nontherapeutic human experimentation

Figure 1

Scattergram of tongue color of different syndromes in primary hepatic carcinoma in CIE 1964 chromaticity LDSD: liver depression and spleen deficiency; ADH: accumulation of damp-heat; DLKY: deficiency of liver and kidney yin; QSBS: qi stagnation and blood stasis."

Figure 2

Comparison of excitation purity of tongue color of different syndromes in primary hepatic carcinoma **P<0.01, vs LDSD syndrome; △△P<0.01, vs ADH syndrome. LDSD: liver depression and spleen deficiency; ADH: accumulation of damp-heat; DLKY: deficiency of liver and kidney yin; QSBS: qi stagnation and blood stasis."

Figure 3

Scattergram of tongue color of different syndromes in primary hepatic carcinoma in CIE LAB color space LDSD: liver depression and spleen deficiency; ADH: accumulation of damp-heat; DLKY: deficiency of liver and kidney yin; QSBS: qi stagnation and blood stasis."

Figure 4

Comparison of L* value of tongue color of different syndromes in primary hepatic carcinoma LDSD: liver depression and spleen deficiency; ADH: accumulation of damp-heat; DLKY: deficiency of liver and kidney yin; QSBS: qi stagnation and blood stasis."

Figure 5

Scattergram of tongue color of different syndromes in primary hepatic carcinoma in the a*b* plane LDSD: liver depression and spleen deficiency; ADH: accumulation of dampness-heat; DLKY: deficiency of liver and kidney yin; QSBS: qi stagnation and blood stasis."

Figure 6

Comparison of CIE LAB hue-angle (A) and chroma (B) of tongue color of different syndromes in primary hepatic carcinoma **P<0.01, vs LDSD syndrome; △△P<0.01, vs ADH syndrome; ▲▲P<0.01, vs QSBS syndrome. LDSD: liver depression and spleen deficiency; ADH: accumulation of damp-heat; DLKY: deficiency of liver and kidney yin; QSBS: qi stagnation and blood stasis."

Table 1

Comparison of chromatism of tongue color of different syndromes in primary hepatic carcinoma"

Comparison Δ Overall chromatism Δ Clarity Δ Chroma Δ Saturation ΔHue
LDSD vs ADH 1.297 0.699 1.092 1.075 0.192
LDSD vs DLKY 3.074 1.578 2.638 2.498 0.848
LDSD vs QSBS 5.549 3.117 4.590 0.291 4.581
ADH vs DLKY 1.811 0.879 1.584 1.423 0.695
ADH vs QSBS 5.868 2.418 5.346 1.367 5.169
DLKY vs QSBS 7.010 1.539 6.839 2.789 6.244
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