Coronary plaque microstructure modifies polarization


Villiger et al.

The microscopic structure and organization of the arterial wall influence the polarization of the infrared light. OFDI permits polarimetric measurements simultaneously with conventional cross-sectional imaging through standard intravascular imaging catheters. This study aimed to evaluate whether polarimetry can improve the assessment of histological features relevant to characterizing human coronary atherosclerosis. Birefringence in fibrous tissue was significantly higher than in intimal tissue and was highest in the tunica media, consistent with its high smooth muscle cell content. In fibrous areas, birefringence showed fine spatial features and close correspondence with the histological appearance of collagen. In contrast, necrotic cores and regions rich in lipid elicited significant depolarization. Depolarization was also evident in locations of cholesterol crystals and macrophages.

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M. Villiger, A. Karanasos, P. Doradla, K. Otsuka, J. Ren, N. Lippok, M. Shishkov, J. Daemen, R. Diletti, R.-J. van Geuns, F. Zijlstra, G. van Soest, P. Libby, E. Regar, S. K. Nadkarni, B. E. Bouma, “Coronary plaque microstructure and composition modify optical polarization: a new endogenous contrast mechanism for optical frequency domain imaging,” JACC: Cardiovascular Imaging , Online December 2017.