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Elastin density: Link between histological and biomechanical properties of vaginal tissue in women with pelvic organ prolapse?

type de publication      article in an international journal with refereeing comitee
date de publication 2016
auteur(s) De Landsheere Laurent; Brieu Mathias; Blacher Silvia; Munaut Carine; Nusgens Betty V.; Rubod Chrystèle; Noel A. CM; Foidart Jean-Michel; Nisolle Michelle; Cosson Michel
journal (abréviation) International Urogynecology Journal (Int Urogynecol J)
volume (numéro) 27 (4)
pages 629 – 635
résumé Introduction and hypothesis: The aim of the study was to correlate histological and biomechanical characteristics of the vaginal wall in women with pelvic organ prolapse (POP). Methods: Tissue samples were collected from the anterior [point Ba; POP Questionnaire (POP-Q)] and/or posterior (point Bp; POP-Q) vaginal wall of 15 women who underwent vaginal surgery for POP. Both histological and biomechanical assessments were performed from the same tissue samples in 14 of 15 patients. For histological assessment, the density of collagen and elastin fibers was determined by combining high-resolution virtual imaging and computer-assisted digital image analysis. For biomechanical testing, uniaxial tension tests were performed to evaluate vaginal tissue stiffness at low (C0) and high (C1) deformation rates. Results: Biomechanical testing highlights the hyperelastic behavior of the vaginal wall. At low strains (C0), vaginal tissue appeared stiffer when elastin density was low. We found a statistically significant inverse relationship between C0 and the elastin/collagen ratio (p = 0.048) in the lamina propria. However, at large strain levels (C1), no clear relationship was observed between elastin density or elastin/collagen ratio and stiffness, likely reflecting the large dispersion of the mechanical behavior of the tissue samples. Conclusion: Histological and biomechanical properties of the vaginal wall vary from patient to patient. This study suggests that elastin density deserves consideration as a relevant factor of vaginal stiffness in women with POP.
mots clés Biomechanics; Collagen; Connective tissue; Elastin; Pelvic organ prolapse; Vagina
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