A Custom Image-Based Analysis Tool for Quantifying Elastin and Collagen Micro-Architecture in the Wall of the Human Aorta from Multi-Photon Microscopy

Antonio D'Amore, Alkiviadis Tsamis, Antonio D'Amore, William R. Wagner, Ryan G. Koch, Simon C. Watkins, David A. Vorp, Thomas G. Gleason

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    33 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    The aorta possesses a micro-architecture that imparts and supports a high degree of compliance and mechanical strength. Alteration of the quantity and/or arrangement of the main load-bearing components of this micro-architecture - the elastin and collagen fibers - leads to mechanical, and hence functional, changes associated with aortic disease and aging. Therefore, in the future, the ability to rigorously characterize the wall fiber micro-architecture could provide insight into the complicated mechanisms of aortic wall remodeling in aging and disease. Elastin and collagen fibers can be observed using state-of-the-art multi-photon microscopy. Image-analysis algorithms have been effective at characterizing fibrous constructs using various microscopy modalities. The objective of this study was to develop a custom MATLAB-language automated image-based analysis tool to describe multiple parameters of elastin and collagen micro-architecture in human soft fibrous tissue samples using multi-photon microscopy images. Human aortic tissue samples were used to develop the code. The tool smooths, cleans and equalizes fiber intensities in the image before segmenting the fibers into a binary image. The binary image is cleaned and thinned to a fiber skeleton representation of the image. The developed software analyzes the fiber skeleton to obtain intersections, fiber orientation, concentration, porosity, diameter distribution, segment length and tortuosity. In the future, the developed custom image-based analysis tool can be used to describe the micro-architecture of aortic wall samples in a variety of conditions. While this work targeted the aorta, the software has the potential to describe the architecture of other fibrous materials, tube-like networks and connective tissues
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)935-943
    Number of pages9
    JournalJournal of Biomechanics
    Volume47
    Publication statusPublished - 2014

    All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

    • Biophysics
    • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
    • Biomedical Engineering
    • Rehabilitation

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