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Biomaterials. 2010 Nov;31(32):8210-7. doi: 10.1016/j.biomaterials.2010.06.042. Epub 2010 Aug 13.

Non-destructive label-free monitoring of collagen gel remodeling using optical coherence tomography.

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  • 1Department of Biomedical Engineering, Oregon Health & Science University, 3303 SW Bond Ave, Mailcode CH13B, Portland, OR 97239, USA.


Matrix remodeling plays a fundamental role in physiological and pathological processes, as well as in tissue engineering applications. In this paper, optical coherence tomography (OCT), a non-destructive optical imaging technology, was used to image collagen gel remodeling by smooth muscle cells (SMCs). The optical scattering properties of collagen-SMC gels were characterized quantitatively by fitting OCT data to a theoretical model. Matrix remodeling over 5 days produced a 10-fold increase in the reflectivity of the collagen gels, corresponding to a decrease in scattering anisotropy from 0.91 to 0.46. The increase in reflectivity was corroborated in confocal mosaic images. Blocking matrix degradation in collagen-SMC gels with doxycycline, a non-specific matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) inhibitor, impeded the decrease in scattering anisotropy and resulted in few macroscopic signs of remodeling. Causing matrix degradation in acellular gels with a 3 h treatment of MMP-8 (collagenase 2) partially mimicked the decrease in anisotropy measured in collagen-SMC gels after 5 days. These results suggest that the decrease in scattering anisotropy in the collagen-SMC gels was due to MMP activity that degrades collagen fibrils into smaller fragments.

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