Hypertrophic scars (HTS), frequently seen after traumatic injuries and surgery, remain a major clinical challenge because of the limited success of existing therapies. A significant obstacle to understanding HTS etiology is the lack of tools to monitor scar remodeling longitudinally and noninvasively. We present an in vivo, label-free technique using polarization-sensitive optical frequency domain imaging for the 3D, longitudinal assessment of collagen remodeling in murine HTS. In this study, HTS was induced with a mechanical tension device for 4e10 days on incisional wounds and imaged up to 1 month after device removal; an excisional HTS model was also imaged at 6 months after injury to investigate deeper and more mature scars. We showed that local retardation and degree of polarization provide a robust signature for HTS. Compared with normal skin with heterogeneous local retardation and low degree of polarization, HTS was characterized by an initially low local retardation, which increased as collagen fibers remodeled, and a persistently high degree of polarization. This study demonstrates that polarization-sensitive optical frequency domain imaging offers a powerful tool to gain significant biological insights into HTS remodeling by enabling longitudinal assessment of collagen in vivo, which is critical to elucidating HTS etiology and developing more effective HTS therapies.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Molecular Biology
- Cell Biology