Second harmonic generation imaging microscopy studies of osteogenesis imperfecta

J Biomed Opt. Sep-Oct 2007;12(5):051805. doi: 10.1117/1.2799538.


We have used quantitative second harmonic generation (SHG) imaging microscopy to investigate the collagen matrix organization in the oim mouse model for human osteogenesis imperfecta (OI). OI is a heritable disease in which the type I collagen fibrils are either abnormally organized or small, resulting in a clinical presentation of recurrent bone fractures and other pathologies related to collagen-comprised tissues. Exploiting the exquisite sensitivity of SHG to supramolecular assembly, we investigated whether this approach can be utilized to differentiate normal and oim tissues. By comparing SHG intensity, fibrillar morphology, polarization anisotropy, and signal directionality, we show that statistically different results are obtained for the wild type (WT) and disease states in bone, tendon, and skin. All these optical signatures are consistent with the collagen matrix in the oim tissues being more disordered, and these results are further consistent with the known weaker mechanical properties of the oim mouse. While the current work shows the ability of SHG to differentiate normal and diseased states in a mouse model, we suggest that our results provide a framework for using SHG as a clinical diagnostic tool for human OI. We further suggest that the SHG metrics described could be applied to other connective tissue disorders that are characterized by abnormal collagen assembly.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Collagen Type I / ultrastructure*
  • Femur / ultrastructure*
  • Image Enhancement / methods*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Microscopy, Confocal / methods*
  • Osteogenesis Imperfecta / ultrastructure*


  • Collagen Type I