• atherosclerosis;
  • SHG microscopy;
  • image analysis


Atherosclerosis is characterized by the accumulation of lipids within the arterial wall and is commonly diagnosed using standard histology. Non-linear microscopy represents a possible label-free alternative to standard diagnostic methods for imaging various tissue components. Here we employ SHG and CARS microscopy for imaging thin cross-sections of atherosclerotic arterial tissue, demonstrating that both cholesterol deposition in the lumen and collagen in the normal arterial wall can be imaged and discriminated using SHG and CARS microscopy. A simultaneous detection of both forward and backward scattered SHG signals allows distinguishing collagen fibres from cholesterol. Further analysis, based on image pattern evaluation algorithms, is used to characterize collagen organization in the healthy arterial wall against collagen found within plaques. Different values of fibre mean size, distribution and anisotropy are calculated for lumen and media prospectively allowing for automated classification of atherosclerotic lesions. The presented method represents a promising diagnostic tool for evaluating atherosclerotic tissue. (© 2014 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim)