Remodeling of the extracellular matrix in human ovarian cancer, can be reflected in increased collagen concentration, changes in alignment and/or up-regulation of different collagen isoforms, including Col III. Using fibrillar gel models, we demonstrate that Col I and Col III can be quantitatively distinguished by 3 distinct SHG polarization specific metrics: i) determination of helical pitch angle via the single axis molecular model, ii) dipole alignment via anisotropy, and iii) chirality via SHG circular dichroism (SHG-CD). These sub-resolution differentiations are possible due to differences in the α helix angles of the two isoforms, which co-mingle in the same fibrils. We also investigated the mechanism of the SHG-CD response and show that unlike conventional CD, it is dominated by electric dipole interactions and is consistent with the two state SHG model. We further applied these 3 polarization resolved analyses to human normal, high risk, benign tumors, and malignant human ovarian tissues. We found that these tissues could all be differentiated by these metrics, where high grade tissues had analogous α-helical pitch angles to the in the Col I/Col III gel model. This confirms literature suggestions based on immunofluorescence and gene expression that Col III is up-regulated in high grade ovarian cancers. The different tissues also displayed differing anisotropies, indicating the fibril assemblies are distinct and likely do not result from remodeling of existing collagen but synthesis of new collagen. Importantly, these SHG polarization methods provide structural information not otherwise possible and can serve as label-free biomarkers for ovarian and other cancers.
Kirby R. Campbell, Rajeev Chaudhary, Julia Handel, and Paul J. Campagnola, "Pixel based SHG probes of extracellular matrix (ECM) alterations in ovarian cancer (Conference Presentation)," Proc. SPIE 10069, Multiphoton Microscopy in the Biomedical Sciences XVII, 1006907 (Presented at SPIE BiOS: January 29, 2017; Published: 24 April 2017); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2250991.5380018913001.
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