Detection of collagen by multi-wavelength photoacoustic analysis as a biomarker for bone health assessment

Collagen is an important biomarker of osteoporosis progression. Noninvasive, multispectral, photoacoustic (PA) techniques use pulsed laser light to induce PA signals to facilitate the visualization of chemical components that are strongly related to tissue health. In this study, the feasibility of multi-wavelength PA (MWPA) measurement of the collagen in bone, using the wavelength range of 1300–1800 nm, was investigated. First, the feasibility of this approach for detecting the collagen content of bone was demonstrated by means of numerical simulation. Then, ex vivo experiments were conducted on both animal and human bone specimens with different bone densities using the MWPA method. The relative collagen content was extracted and compared with the results of micro-computed tomography (micro-CT) and histology. The results showed that the “relative collagen content” parameter obtained using the MWPA approach correlated well with the bone volume ratio obtained from micro-CT images and histological analysis results. This study highlights the potential of the proposed PA technique for determining the collagen content of bones as a biomarker for bone health assessment.

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