Cardiac hypertrophy, a process initiated by mechanical alterations, is hypothesized to cause long-term molecular-level alteration in the sarcomere lattice, which is the main force-generating component in the heart muscle. This molecular-level alteration is beyond the resolving capacity of common light microscopy. Second harmonic generation (SHG) microscopy has unique capability for visualizing ordered molecular structures in biological tissues without labeling. Combined with polarization imaging technique, SHG microscopy is able to extract structural details of myosin at the molecular level so as to reveal molecular-level alterations that occur during hypertrophy. The myosin filaments are believed to possess C6 symmetry; thus, the nonlinear polarization response relationship between generated second harmonic light I^2ωand incident fundamental light I^ω is determined by nonlinear coefficients, χ_15, χ_31 and χ_33. χ_31/χ_15 is believed to be an indicator of the molecular symmetry of myosin filament, whileχ_33/χ_15represents the intramyosin orientation angle of the double helix. By changing the polarization of the incident light and evaluating the corresponding SHG signals, the molecular structure of the myosin, reflected by the χ coefficients, can be revealed. With this method, we studied the structural properties of heart tissues in different conditions, including those in normal, physiologically hypertrophic (heart tissue from postpartum female rats), and pathologically hypertrophic (heart tissue from transverse-aorta constricted rats) conditions. We found that ratios of χ_31/χ_15 showed no significant difference between heart tissues from different conditions; their values were all close to 1, which demonstrated that Kleinman symmetry held for all conditions. Ratios of χ_33/χ_15 from physiologically or pathologically hypertrophic heart tissues were raised and showed significant difference from those from normal heart tissues, which indicated that the intramyosin orientation angle of the double helix was altered when heart tissues hypertrophied. Polarization-resolved SHG microscopy permitted us to study heart tissues at the molecular level and may serve as a diagnostic tool for cardiac hypertrophy.
Zhonghai Wang, Cai Yuan, Yonghong Shao, Amy D. Bradshaw, Thomas K. Borg, and Bruce Z. Gao, "Polarization-resolved SHG microscopy in cardiac hypertrophy study (Conference Presentation)," Proc. SPIE 10042, Diagnostic and Therapeutic Applications of Light in Cardiology, 100420M (Presented at SPIE BiOS: January 29, 2017; Published: 19 April 2017); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2253161.5369982361001.
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