Standard approaches to evaluate scar formation within histological sections rely on qualitative evaluations and scoring, which limits our understanding of the remodelling process. We have recently developed an image analysis technique for the rapid quantification of fibre alignment at each pixel location. The goal of this study was to evaluate its application for quantitatively mapping scar formation in histological sections of cutaneous burns. To this end, we utilized directional statistics to define maps of fibre density and directional variance from Masson's trichrome-stained sections for quantifying changes in collagen organization during scar remodelling. Significant increases in collagen fibre density are detectable soon after burn injury in a rat model. Decreased fibre directional variance in the scar was also detectable between 3 weeks and 6 months after injury, indicating increasing fibre alignment. This automated analysis of fibre organization can provide objective surrogate endpoints for evaluating cutaneous wound repair and regeneration.
Keywords: burns; collagen; fibre alignment; image analysis; scar remodelling.
© 2014 John Wiley & Sons A/S. Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.