2H Double quantum-filtered (DQF) NMR spectroscopy of deuterated water is sensitive to he presence of order in biological systems. This is because the only nuclei that are detected are those with residual quadrupolar interactions due to their anisotropic motion. In the present study, samples of aorta, coronary and carotid arteries, and vena cava were studied in parallel by 2H DQF NMR and by light microscopy. The average quadrupolar splitting, calculated from the NMR data, varies considerably among the different blood vessels, with high reproducibility for each type of vessel. Polarization microscopy examinations using collagen-specific staining with picrosirius red, have shown a variety of color profiles for the different blood vessels. These reflect different physical modes of aggregation (packing and thickness) of collagen fibers. A correlation was found between the NMR parameters and the color profiles of the picrosirius red-stained sections. Treating the blood vessels with 90% formic acid resulted in the elimination of the 2H DQF NMR signal. Histological analysis demonstrated a complete degradation of collagen and muscle, whereas the elastin filaments were preserved. Evidence is given that the 2H DQF NMR signal is dominated by the contribution of water molecules interacting with the collagen fibers.
Sharf, Y., Knubovets, T., Dayan, D., Hirshberg, A., Akselrod, S., & Navon, G. (1997). The source of NMR-detected motional anisotropy of water in blood vessel walls. Biophysical Journal, 73(3), 1198–1204. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0006-3495(97)78152-9