Use of Mueller matrix polarimetry and optical coherence tomography in the characterization of cervical collagen anisotropy

J Biomed Opt. 2017 Aug;22(8):1-9. doi: 10.1117/1.JBO.22.8.086010.


Preterm birth (PTB) presents a serious medical health concern throughout the world. There is a high incidence of PTB in both developed and developing countries ranging from 11% to 15%, respectively. Recent research has shown that cervical collagen orientation and distribution changes during pregnancy may be useful in predicting PTB. Polarization imaging is an effective means to measure optical anisotropy in birefringent materials, such as the cervix's extracellular matrix. Noninvasive, full-field Mueller matrix polarimetry (MMP) imaging methodologies, and optical coherence tomography (OCT) imaging were used to assess cervical collagen content and structure in nonpregnant porcine cervices. We demonstrate that the highly ordered structure of the nonpregnant porcine cervix can be observed with MMP. Furthermore, when utilized ex vivo, OCT and MMP yield very similar results with a mean error of 3.46% between the two modalities.

Keywords: Mueller matrix; anisotropy; birefringence; collagen; optical coherence tomography; polarized light imaging.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anisotropy*
  • Birefringence
  • Cervix Uteri / chemistry*
  • Collagen / chemistry*
  • Extracellular Matrix / chemistry*
  • Female
  • Premature Birth / etiology*
  • Spectrum Analysis
  • Swine
  • Tomography, Optical Coherence / methods*


  • Collagen