In vivo characterization of connective tissue remodeling using infrared photoacoustic spectra

Yuan Qu, Peng Hu, Junhui Shi, Konstantin Maslov, Peinan Zhao, Chiye Li, Jun Ma, Alejandro Garcia-Uribe, Karen Meyers, Emily Diveley, Stephanie Pizzella, Lisa Muench, Nina Punyamurthy, Naomi Goldstein, Oji Onwumere, Mariana Alisio, Kaytelyn Meyenburg, Jennifer Maynard, Kristi Helm, Emma AltieriJanessia Slaughter, Sabrina Barber, Tracy Burger, Christine Kramer, Jessica Chubiz, Monica Anderson, Ronald McCarthy, Sarah K. England, George A. Macones, Molly J. Stout, Methodius Tuuli, Lihong V. Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Premature cervical remodeling is a critical precursor of spontaneous preterm birth, and the remodeling process is characterized by an increase in tissue hydration. Nevertheless, current clinical measurements of cervical remodeling are subjective and detect only late events, such as cervical effacement and dilation. Here, we present a photoacoustic endoscope that can quantify tissue hydration by measuring near-infrared cervical spectra. We quantify the water contents of tissue-mimicking hydrogel phantoms as an analog of cervical connective tissue. Applying this method to pregnant women in vivo, we observed an increase in the water content of the cervix throughout pregnancy. The application of this technique in maternal healthcare may advance our understanding of cervical remodeling and provide a sensitive method for predicting preterm birth.

Original languageEnglish
Article number121621
JournalJournal of biomedical optics
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1 2018


  • cervical examination
  • photoacoustic endoscopy
  • spectroscopy
  • tissue hydration


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