A distribution of collagen fiber orientations in aortic histological section
Distributions of collagen fibrils and smooth muscle cells nuclei (SMC) orientations were investigated in histological sections obtained from medial layer of human thoracic aorta. The sections were stained with van Gieson. Digital image of the sections was converted to binary pixel map with target component represented in white (logical unity). Selected image was indicated to elucidate the sensitivity to threshold conditions and three different binary conversions were performed. Consecutively images were processed by in house developed software BinaryDirections which uses an algorithm of the rotation line segment to determine significant directions in digital images. The algorithm operates in the way that in each target pixel a line segment is rotated step by step to explore neighborhood of the pixel. Exploring the neighborhood the number of unity pixels in each rotating step is determined. The distribution of orientations in the entire image is gained after normalization either as averaged density distribution from all pixels or as an histogram of the most abundant directions in the image. It was found that both collagen fibrils and SMC nuclei analyses give significant peak in distributions. Its value ranges between 45° - 65° (defined as declination from longitudinal axis of an artery in a tubular configuration) depending on the method. It implies that preferred direction in aortic medial layer was oriented circumferentially rather than longitudinally. This conclusion was almost independent of the threshold setup. Results suggest that the orientations of SMC nuclei and collagen fibrils are mutually correlated and determination of collagen fibril orientations, which may be stained in insignificant manner, could be supported with SMC nuclei orientations to obtain more realistic models.
Keywordsaorta anisotropy collagen fiber distribution histology probability density
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