Pitt | Swanson Engineering
Characterization and Modeling of ECM Architecture in the Human Aorta

One of the main interests of our lab is to describe the connective fiber microstructure of vascular tissue using multi-photon microscopy. Quantification of microstructural parameters could provide insight into the biomechanical response of the aortic wall to different loading conditions. Our image analysis algorithms have characterized the two main ECM proteins responsible for vascular biomechanics, elastin and collagen, with respect to fiber architecture in the aortic wall. Our custom image analysis tool can be used to analyze various parameters of the connective fiber architecture of the aortic wall in numerous conditions and diseases, such as different aortic phenotypes, aging effects, etc., with the potential to describe fibrous or tube-like structures with components of varying tortuosity. In the future, the tool could be extended to other imaging modalities, such as confocal microscopy, accounting for different levels of noise and fluorescent signal.

Related Publications

1.    Tsamis A, Krawiec JT, Vorp DA,  “Elastin and collagen fibre microstructure of the human aorta in ageing and disease: a review”, J R Soc Interface, 2013 Jun 6, 10(83):20121004, PMID 23536538 PMCID: PMC3645409

2.    Koch RG, Tsamis A, D’Amore A, Wagner WR, Watkins SC, Gleason TG, Vorp DA, “A Custom Image-Based Analysis Tool for Quantifying Elastin and Collagen Micro-Architecture in the Wall of the Human Aorta from Multi-Photon Microscopy”, J Biomech, 2014 Mar 21;47(5):935-43, PMID 24524988, PMCID: PMC4036225