Abstract

In bone tissue engineering and regeneration, there is a considerable need for an unstained method of monitoring collagen fibers produced by osteoblasts. This is because collagen fibers play an important role as a bone matrix and continuous monitoring of their temporal dynamics is important in clarifying the organization process toward forming bone tissue. In the work described here, using a second-harmonic-generation (SHG) microscope, we performed in situ time-series monitoring of collagen fibers produced by cultured osteoblasts without the need for staining. Use of the 19 fs near-infrared pulsed light enables us to visualize the temporal dynamics in a thin layer of collagen fibers produced by a single layer of osteoblasts in high-contrast SHG images. While the collagen fibers were produced and stored inside the osteoblasts at an early stage of culturing, the network structure of collagen fibers was formed and locally condensed at a late stage. Furthermore, we extracted a quantitative parameter of collagen maturity degree in the cultured sample by use of image analysis based on a two-dimensional Fourier transform of the SHG image. The proposed method will be useful for in situ quality and quantity control of collagen fibers in bone tissue engineering and regeneration.

© 2016 Optical Society of America

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