The structural remodeling of collagen is important in biological processes such as fibrosis, developmental morphogenesis and wound repair. Highly ordered collagen macromolecules produce second harmonic generation signals without the need for any exogenous label. Conversely, the cellular components stained with exogenous labels generate multiphoton excitation fluorescence signals. Both these signals can be captured simultaneously to provide spatially resolved structural reorganization of a collagen matrix and cells. This study dealt with an in vitro collagen gel contraction model of wound repair, in which fibroblasts are seeded into a 3-dimensional type I collagen matrix. When cells are stimulated to trigger collagen contraction, we found the fibroblasts to be highly elongated as well as interconnected in 2-dimensional space, and the collagen, in the form of a visibly clear fibril structure, accumulated around the cells. In the absence of contraction, on the other hand, the cells were predominantly round in shape and no sign of collagen accumulation around the cell was evident despite the presence of the fibrillar collagen morphology in the matrix. Our data suggest second harmonic and multiphoton excitation fluorescence signals can be used in tandem to provide spatially resolved 3-dimensional structural remodeling of a collagen matrix during wound repair.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Structural Biology