Real-time polarization microscopy of fibrillar collagen in histopathology

Sci Rep. 2021 Sep 24;11(1):19063. doi: 10.1038/s41598-021-98600-w.


Over the past two decades, fibrillar collagen reorganization parameters such as the amount of collagen deposition, fiber angle and alignment have been widely explored in numerous studies. These parameters are now widely accepted as stromal biomarkers and linked to disease progression and survival time in several cancer types. Despite all these advances, there has not been a significant effort to make it possible for clinicians to explore these biomarkers without adding steps to the clinical workflow or by requiring high-cost imaging systems. In this paper, we evaluate previously described polychromatic polarization microscope (PPM) to visualize collagen fibers with an optically generated color representation of fiber orientation and alignment when inspecting the sample by a regular microscope with minor modifications. This system does not require stained slides, but is compatible with histological stains such as H&E. Consequently, it can be easily accommodated as part of regular pathology review of tissue slides, while providing clinically useful insight into stromal composition.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma / metabolism
  • Biomarkers / metabolism
  • Breast / metabolism
  • Breast / pathology
  • Breast Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Female
  • Fibrillar Collagens / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Microscopy, Polarization / methods*
  • Pancreas / metabolism
  • Pancreas / pathology
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / metabolism


  • Biomarkers
  • Fibrillar Collagens