Interesting work from Dr. You Han Bae's lab at the University of Utah used F-CHPs aid in evaluating tissue perfusion and identifying barriers to transport in uterine fibroids. Fibroids are growths of dense connective tissue that lack vasculature for the transport of drugs to the area. They show that there is a negative relationship between collagen density and methylene blue distribution (used as a model molecule for tissue perfusion). They noted limited staining inside fibroids (with methylene blue), limited vasculature, high levels of collagen, and elevated interstitial pressure. 

Abstract: This project uses an ex vivo human perfusion model for studying transport in benign, fibrous tumors. The uterine arteries were cannulated to perfuse the organ with a buffer solution containing blood vessel stain and methylene blue to analyze intratumoral transport. Gross examination revealed tissue expansion effects and a visual lack of methylene blue in the fibroids. Some fibroids exhibited regions with partial methylene blue penetration into the tumor environment. Histological analysis comparing representative sections of fibroids and normal myometrium showed a smaller number of vessels with decreased diameters within the fibroid. Imaging of fluorescently stained vessels exposed a stark contrast between fluorescence within the myometrium and relatively little within the fibroid tissues. Imaging at higher magnification revealed that fibroid blood vessels were indeed perfused and stained with the lipophilic membrane dye; however, the vessels were only the size of small capillaries and the blood vessel coverage was only 12% that of the normal myometrium. The majority of sampled fibroids had a strong negative correlation (Pearson's r = − 0.68 or beyond) between collagen and methylene blue staining. As methylene blue was able to passively diffuse into fibroid tissue, the true barrier to transport in these fibroids is likely high interstitial fluid pressure, correlating with high collagen content and solid stress observed in the fibroid tissue. Fibroids had an average elevated interstitial fluid pressure of 4 mm Hg compared to − 1 mm Hg in normal myometrium. Our findings signify relationships between drug distribution in fibroids and between vasculature characteristics, collagen levels, and interstitial fluid pressure. Understanding these barriers to transport can lead to developments in drug delivery for the treatment of uterine fibroids and tumors of similar composition.


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