Multiple Optical Elastography Techniques Reveal the Regulation of Corneal Stiffness by Collagen XII

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Purpose: Collagen XII plays a role in regulating the structure and mechanical properties of the cornea. In this work, several optical elastography techniques were used to investigate the effect of collagen XII deficiency on the stiffness of the murine cornea. Methods: A three-prong optical elastography approach was used to investigate the mechanical properties of the cornea. Brillouin microscopy, air-coupled ultrasonic optical coherence elastography (OCE) and heartbeat OCE were used to assess the mechanical properties of wild type (WT) and collagen XII–deficient (Col12a1–/–) murine corneas. The Brillouin frequency shift, elastic wave speed, and compressive strain were all measured as a function of intraocular pressure (IOP). Results: All three optical elastography modalities measured a significantly decreased stiffness in the Col12a1–/– compared to the WT (P < 0.01 for all three modalities). The optical coherence elastography techniques showed that mean stiffness increased as a function of IOP; however, Brillouin microscopy showed no discernable trend in Brillouin frequency shift as a function of IOP. Conclusions: Our approach suggests that the absence of collagen XII significantly softens the cornea. Although both optical coherence elastography techniques showed an expected increase in corneal stiffness as a function of IOP, Brillouin microscopy did not show such a relationship, suggesting that the Brillouin longitudinal modulus may not be affected by changes in IOP. Future work will focus on multimodal biomechanical models, evaluating the effects of other collagen types on corneal stiffness, and in vivo measurements.
Original languageSpanish
JournalInvestigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science
Issue number12
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2023

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