The evolution of collagen fiber orientation in engineered cardiovascular tissues visualized by diffusion tensor imaging

S. Ghazanfari, A. Driessen-Mol, G.J. Strijkers, F.P.T. Baaijens, C.V.C. Bouten

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31 Citations (Scopus)
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The collagen architecture is the major determinant of the function and mechanical behavior of cardiovascular tissues. In order to engineer a functional and load-bearing cardiovascular tissue with a structure thatmimics the native tissue to meet in vivo mechanical demands, a complete understanding of the collagen orientation mechanism is required. Several methods have been used to visualize collagen architecture in tissue-engineered (TE) constructs, but they either have a limited imaging depth or have a complicated set up. In this study, Diffusion Tensor Imaging (DTI) is explored as a fast and reliable method to visualize collagen arrangement, and Confocal Laser Scanning Microscopy (CLSM) was used as a validation technique. Uniaxially constrained TE strips were cultured for 2 days, 10 days, 3 and 6 weeks to investigate the evolution of the collagen orientation with time. Moreover, a comparison of the collagen orientation in high and low aspect ratio (length/ width) TE constructs was made with both methods. Both methods showed similar fiber orientation in TE constructs. Collagen fibers in the high aspect ratio samples were mostly aligned in the constrained direction, while the collagen fibers in low aspect ratio strips were mainly oriented in the oblique direction. The orientation changed to the oblique direction by extending culture time and could also be visualized. DTI captured the collagen orientation differences between low and high aspect ratio samples and with time. Therefore, it can be used as a fast, non-destructive and reliable tool to study the evolution of the collagen orientation in TE constructs.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0127847
Pages (from-to)1-15
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2015


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