Correlation Between Collagen Solubility and Skin Optical Clearing Using Sugars

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Background and Objective:

Light scattering from collagen within skin limits light-based therapeutics while increasing the risk of epidermal thermal injury. Specific chemicals show the ability to reduce light scattering by reversibly altering the optical properties of skin. This study examines the correlation between collagen solubility and the optical clearing potential (OCP) of sugars and sugar-alcohols using in vitro rodent skin.

Materials and Methods:

Collagen solubility in dextrose, fructose, sucrose, and sorbitol was measured using near-UV spectroscopy. Light transmittance, reflectance, and rodent skin thickness were measured (giving skin reduced scattering coefficient) before and after exposure of the dermal surface to sugars and sugar-alcohols. OCP was calculated as the ratio of reduced scattering coefficients before and after exposures.


Dextrose, fructose, sucrose, and sorbitol had at least twice the collagen solubility and twice the OCP as compared to glycerol. In general, collagen solubility correlated with each agent's ability to optically clear rodent skin.


These results demonstrate that sugar and sugar–alcohol interaction with collagen are a primary event in tissue optical clearing. Lasers Surg. Med. 39:140–144, 2007. © 2007 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

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