Collagen organization within the cartilage of TRPV4(-/-) mice studied with two-photon microscopy and polarized second harmonic generation


  • M.R. Servin-Vences
  • K. Poole
  • A. Sporbert
  • G.R. Lewin
  • A. Margineanu


  • Cytometry Part A


  • Cytometry A 97 (5): 504-514


  • The polymodal channel TRPV4 has been shown to regulate development and maintenance of cartilage. Here we investigate whether TRPV4 activity regulates the early deposition and structure of collagen matrix in the femoral head cartilage by comparing the 3D morphology and the sub-micrometer organization of the collagen matrix between wild type and TRPV4(-/-) mice pups four to five days old. Two-photon microscopy can be used to conduct label-free imaging of cartilage, as collagen generates a second harmonic signal (second harmonic generation [SHG]) under pulsed infrared excitation. In one set of measurements, we use circularly polarized laser light to reconstruct the 3D morphology of the femoral head cartilage and to measure the tissue thickness. Second, by rotating the direction of the linearly polarized light and using polarized SHG detection, we investigate the sub-micrometer orientation of collagen fibers in the cartilage. At this developmental stage, we cannot detect statistically significant differences between the two mice strains, although a tendency toward a more random orientation of collagen fibers and a higher thickness of the whole cartilage seems to characterize the TRPV4(-/-) mice. We discuss possible reasons for these observations.