Polarisation-sensitive optical coherence tomography measurement of retardance in fibrosis, a non-invasive biomarker in patients with systemic sclerosis

E J Marjanovic, V Sharma, L Smith, C Pinder, T L Moore, J B Manning, G Dinsdale, M Berks, V L Newton, S Wilkinson, M R Dickinson, A L Herrick, R E B Watson, A K Murray

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Abstract

Polarisation-sensitive optical coherence tomography (PS-OCT) offers a novel, non-invasive method of assessing skin fibrosis in the multisystem disease systemic sclerosis (SSc) by measuring collagen retardance. This study aimed to assess retardance as a biomarker in SSc. Thirty-one patients with SSc and 27 healthy controls (HC) underwent PS-OCT imaging. 'Skin score' was assessed by clinical palpation (0-3 scale). A subset of ten patients and ten age/sex-matched HC had a biopsy and longitudinal imaging. Histological assessment included quantification of epidermal thickness, collagen content (to assess fibrosis) and matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) activity (in situ zymography). PS-OCT images were assessed for epidermal thickness (structure) and fibrosis (retardance). Positive correlation was observed between epidermal thickness as measured by histology and structural PS-OCT (r = 0.79; p < 0.001). Retardance was: HC mean 0.21 (SD 0.21) radian/pixel; SSc skin score 0, 0.30 (0.19); skin score 1, 0.11 (0.16); skin score 2, 0.06 (0.12); skin score 3, 0.36 (0.35). Longitudinal retardance decreased at one-week across groups, increasing at one-month for HC/skin score 0-1; HC biopsy site retardance suggests scarring is akin to fibrosis. Relationships identified between retardance with both biopsy and skin score data indicate that retardance warrants further investigation as a suitable biomarker for SSc-related fibrosis.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2893
JournalScientific Reports
Volume12
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 21 Feb 2022

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

  • Lydia Becker Institute

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