Detecting Biochemical Changes that Occur in the Rodent Cervix during Pregnancy using Raman Spectroscopy.

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Journal/Book Title

Annals of Biomedical Engineering

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The goal of this research is to determine whether Raman spectroscopy (RS), an optical method that probes the vibrational modes of tissue components, can be used in vivo to study changes in the mouse cervix during pregnancy. If successful, such a tool could be used to detect cervical changes due to pregnancy, both normal and abnormal, in animal models and humans. For this study, Raman spectra were acquired before, during and after a 19-day mouse gestational period. In some cases, after Raman data was obtained, cervices were excised for structural testing and histological staining for collagen and smooth muscle. Various peaks of the Raman spectra, such as the areas corresponding to fatty acid content and collagen organization, changed as the cervix became softer in preparation for labor and delivery. These findings correspond to the increase in compliance of the tissue and the collagen disorganization visualized with the histological staining. The results of this study suggest that non-invasive RS can be used to study cervical changes during pregnancy, labor and delivery and can possibly predict preterm delivery before overt clinical manifestations, potentially lead to more effective preventive and therapeutic interventions.

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