Label-free, Rapid Detection of Fibrosis with Infrared Imaging

Fibrosis, a type of scarred connective tissue, forms when chronic inflammatory reactions trigger an “excess deposition of extracellular matrix (ECM) components.”1 Fibrosis can affect many organs, but is commonly seen in liver, lung, and kidney tissues. At first, the scarring tissue is advantageous to the recovery of the damaged cells, but as deposits are made in excess, the patient’s risk for organ failure increases. Therefore, monitoring the progression of fibrosis for prevention and early diagnosis of diseased states is essential.

IR imaging is a potentially powerful adjunct to current pathology practice, with the ability to visualize fibrosis in tissues and extract novel biomarkers that can predict the progression of fibrosis. At the University of Illinois at Chicago and Loyola University Medical Center, QCL-IR imaging using the Spero microscope, was used to predict fibrosis progression in renal transplant patients.2 QCL-IR spectroscopy was used to quickly identify biochemical signatures of fibrosis without the use of labels and stains.

1Wynn, T A. “Cellular and molecular mechanisms of fibrosis.” The Journal of pathology vol. 214,2 (2008): 199-210. doi:10.1002/path.2277

2 Walsh, Michael, et al. “Predicting Fibrosis Progression in Renal Transplant Recipients Using Laser-Based Infrared Spectroscopic Imaging” Scientific Reports Volume 8, Article number: 686 (2018) doi:10.1038/s41598-017-19006-1