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Sci Rep. 2019 Dec 18;9(1):19388. doi: 10.1038/s41598-019-56045-2.

Quantitative Phase Imaging Using Digital Holographic Microscopy Reliably Assesses Morphology and Reflects Elastic Properties of Fibrotic Intestinal Tissue.

Author information

1
Department of Medicine B for Gastroenterology and Hepatology, University Hospital Muenster, Muenster, Germany.
2
Institute of Palliative Care, University Hospital Muenster, Muenster, Germany.
3
Department of General, Visceral and Transplantation Surgery, University Hospital Muenster, Muenster, Germany.
4
Institute of Pathology, Klinikum Bayreuth, University of Erlangen-Nuremberg, Bayreuth, Germany.
5
Department of Medicine, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Vic, Australia.
6
Biomedical Technology Center, University of Muenster, Muenster, Germany.
7
Department of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition, Digestive Diseases and Surgery Institute, Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, Ohio, USA.
8
Biomedical Technology Center, University of Muenster, Muenster, Germany. bkemper@uni-muenster.de.

Abstract

Intestinal strictures are a frequent complication in patients with Crohn's Disease (CD) and the presence of fibrosis within strictures impacts the therapeutic treatment approach. Here, we evaluate quantitative phase imaging (QPI) using digital holographic microscopy (DHM) for the evaluation of fibrosis within CD strictures. 30 full thickness resection specimens were obtained from non-stenotic and stenotic tissue areas of 15 CD patients. Cryostat sections were analyzed by DHM to measure the spatial distribution of the refractive index (RI) to quantify tissue density. Complementary, histopathological evaluation of H&E staining and immunofluorescence (IF) targeting fibrosis markers served as the gold standard. Moreover, tissue stiffness was evaluated by elastography. RI values assessed by DHM were significantly higher in stenotic compared to non-stenotic tissue areas (p < 0.001). Histopathological analysis using H&E staining and IF confirmed the elevated expression of fibrosis markers in stenotic compared to non-stenotic tissue (all p < 0.001). The RI retrieved by DHM strongly correlated with the amount of fibrosis as determined by IF (p < 0.001; R2 = 0.48). Furthermore, elastography detected a significantly higher tissue stiffness in stenotic as compared to non-stenotic tissue sections (p < 0.001). In conclusion, QPI using DHM accurately assesses fibrotic properties of CD-associated strictures and may improve the characterization of CD strictures.

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