Fourier transform infrared imaging spectroscopy analysis of collagenase-induced cartilage degradation

P. A. West, P. A. Torzilli, C. Chen, P. Lin, N. P. Camacho

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

72 Scopus citations


Collagenase treatment of cartilage serves as an in vitro model of the pathological collagen degradation that occurs in the disease osteoarthritis (OA). Fourier transform infrared imaging spectroscopic (FT-IRIS) analysis of collagenase-treated cartilage is performed to elucidate the molecular origin of the spectral changes previously found at the articular surface of human OA cartilage. Bovine cartilage explants are treated with 0.1% collagenase for 0, 15, or 30 min. In situ collagen cleavage is assessed using immunofluorescent staining with an antibody specific for broken type II collagen. The FT-IRIS analysis of the control and treated specimens mirrors the differences previously found between normal and OA cartilage using an infrared fiber optic probe (IFOP). With collagenase treatment, the amide II/1338 cm-1 area ratio increases while the 1238 cm-1/1227 cm-1 peak ratio decreases. In addition, polarized FT-IRIS demonstrates a more random orientation of the collagen fibrils that correlate spatially with the immunofluorescent- determined regions of broken type II collagen. We can therefore conclude that the spectral changes observed in the collagenase-treated cartilage, and similarly in OA cartilage, arise from changes in collagen structure. These findings support the use of mid-infrared spectral analysis, in particular the minimally invasive IFOP, as potential techniques for the diagnosis and management of degenerative joint diseases such as osteoarthritis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number014015
JournalJournal of Biomedical Optics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • Collagen
  • Collagenase
  • Infrared fiber optic probe
  • Infrared imaging
  • Osteoarthritis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Biomaterials
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Biomedical Engineering


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