Compositional Assessment of Human Tracheal Cartilage by Infrared Spectroscopy

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ObjectivesTo assess the potential of infrared fiber-optic spectroscopy to evaluate the compositional properties of human tracheal cartilage.Study DesignLaboratory-based study.MethodsTwenty human cadaveric distal tracheas were harvested (age range 20-78 years; 6 females, 14 males) for compositional analysis. Histologic staining, Fourier transform infrared imaging spectroscopy data on collagen and proteoglycan (PG) content, and near-infrared (NIR) fiber-optic probe spectroscopic data that reflect protein and water content were evaluated. NIR fiber-optic probe data were also obtained from the proximal trachea in 4 human cadavers (age range 51-65 years; 2 females, 2 males) in situ for comparison to distal trachea spectral data.ResultsIn the distal trachea cohort, the spectroscopic-determined ratio of PG/amide I, indicative of the relative amount of PG, was significantly higher in the tissues from the younger group compared to the older group (0.37 ± 0.08 vs 0.32 ± 0.05, P = .05). A principal component analysis of the NIR spectral data enabled separation of spectra based on tracheal location, likely due to differences in both protein and water content. The NIR-determined water content based on the 5200-cm−1 peak was significantly higher in the distal trachea compared to the proximal trachea (P < .001).ConclusionsEstablishment of normative compositional values and further elucidating differences between the segments of trachea will enable more directed research toward appropriate compositional end points in regenerative medicine for tracheal repair.

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