Quantification of aortic and cutaneous elastin and collagen morphology in Marfan syndrome by multiphoton microscopy

TitleQuantification of aortic and cutaneous elastin and collagen morphology in Marfan syndrome by multiphoton microscopy
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2014
AuthorsCiu, JZ, Tehrani, AY, Jett, KA, Bernatchez, P, van Breemen, C, Esfandiarei, M
JournalJournal of Structural Biology
Date Published09/2014

In a mouse model of Marfan syndrome, conventional Verhoeff-Van Gieson staining displays severe fragmentation, disorganization and loss of the aortic elastic fiber integrity. However, this method involves chemical fixatives and staining, which may alter the native morphology of elastin and collagen. Thus far, quantitative analysis of fiber damage in aorta and skin in Marfan syndrome has not yet been explored. In this study, we have used an advanced noninvasive and label-free imaging technique, multiphoton microscopy to quantify fiber fragmentation, disorganization, and total volumetric density of aortic and cutaneous elastin and collagen in a mouse model of Marfan syndrome. Aorta and skin samples were harvested from Marfan and control mice aged 3-, 6- and 9-month. Elastin and collagen were identified based on two-photon excitation fluorescence and second-harmonic-generation signals, respectively, without exogenous label. Measurement of fiber length indicated significant fragmentation in Marfan vs.


Fast Fourier transform algorithm analysis demonstrated markedly lower fiber organization in Marfan mice. Significantly reduced volumetric density of elastin and collagen and thinner skin dermis were observed in Marfan mice. Cutaneous content of elastic fibers and thickness of dermis in 3-month Marfan resembled those in the oldest control mice. Our findings of early signs of fiber degradation and thinning of skin dermis support the potential development of a novel non-invasive approach for early diagnosis of Marfan syndrome.