Second harmonic generation imaging of collagen scaffolds within the alveolar ducts of healthy and emphysematous mouse lungs

Leila B. Mostaco-Guidolin, Jeffrey Loube, Aaron Barlow, Emmanuel T. Osei, Dragoș șM Vasilescu, Aileen Hsieh, May Fouadi, Christine Young, Alan L. Scott, Wayne Mitzner, Tillie L. Hackett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


The alveolar ducts are connected to peripheral septal fibers which extend from the visceral pleura into interlobular septa, and are anchored to axial fibers in the small airways. Together these axial and septal fibers constitute a fiber continuum that provides tension and integrity throughout the lung. Building on the observations that alveolar ducts associated with sub-pleural alveoli are orientated perpendicular to the visceral pleura, and in parallel to each other, the goal of the present study was to investigate the nature of the collagen fiber organization within sub-pleural alveolar ducts in healthy control and elastase-induced emphysema murine lungs. Employing three-dimensional second harmonic generation imaging, the structural arrangement of fibrilar collagen fibers could be visualized in cleared murine lungs. In healthy control lungs, fibrilar collagen fibers within alveolar mouths formed the coiled collagen structure within the alveolar duct. In the elastase-treated emphysema lungs, there was loss of fibrilar collagen fibers (p < 0.01) and disruption of collagens structural organization as measured by the fibrillar collagen length (p < 0.01) and entropy (p < 0.01). Compared to the alveolar ducts from healthy controls, there was a significant increase in the area of cells (nm2, p < 0.001), and area of cells with cytoplasmic granules (nm2, p < 0.001) compared to emphysematous lungs. These results are consistent with the idea that one of the major contributors to the progressive loss of alveolar surfaces and elastic recoil in the emphysematous lung is loss of the structural integrity of the collagen scaffold that maintains the spatial relationships important for cell survival and lung function.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)279-289
Number of pages11
JournalHistochemistry and Cell Biology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2021


  • Alveolar duct
  • COPD
  • Collagen
  • Second harmonic imaging

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Histology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Medical Laboratory Technology
  • Cell Biology


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