6th Annual Symposium
Physics of Cancer
September 7-9, 2015
|PoC - Physics of Cancer - Annual Symposium|
Understanding damage of the extracellular matrix at the single Collagen fibril level
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Soft tissues pathologies involve remodeling or damage of the extracellular matrix (ECM) through mechanical and biochemical changes. Currents methods available to study changes in the ECM focus on biochemical markers or network level changes in organization. Here I will present a simple nanomechanical mapping technique to characterize local changes in the molecular density of single collagen fibrils. We validated our approach by measuring the 20% change in molecular density between the gap and overlap regions along collagen fibrils extracted from rat-tail tendons . Using this method we then demonstrated that heat and mechanical strain could induce molecular density changes along the axial and radial directions of single fibrils. All these changes were associated with an increase in water uptake and a radial swelling of the fibrils. This is opening a new avenue in assessing damage within the ECM through monitoring of subtle changes in a quantity linked to the molecular density of the fibril such as the optical index. If time permits I will present preliminary experiments exploring this possibility through quantitative phase imaging of collagen fibril bundles in water using digital in-line holography .