Document Type


Publication Date


Publication Title

Scientific Reports


Thayer School of Engineering

Additional Department

Geisel School of Medicine


The poor efficacy of systemic cancer therapeutics in pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is partly attributed to deposition of collagen and hyaluronan, leading to interstitial hypertension collapsing blood and lymphatic vessels, limiting drug delivery. The intrinsic micro-regional interactions between hyaluronic acid (HA), collagen and the spatial origins of mechanical stresses that close off blood vessels was investigated here. Multiple localized pressure measurements were analyzed with spatially-matched histochemical images of HA, collagen and vessel perfusion. HA is known to swell, fitting a linear elastic model with total tissue pressure (TTP) increasing above interstitial fluid pressure (IFP) directly with collagen content. However, local TTP appears to originate from collagen area fraction, as well as increased its entropy and fractal dimension, and morphologically appears to be maximized when HA regions are encapsulated by collagen. TTP was inversely correlated with vascular patency and verteporfin uptake, suggesting interstitial hypertension results in vascular compression and decreased molecular delivery in PDAC. Collagenase injection led to acute decreases in total tissue pressure and increased drug perfusion. Large microscopic variations in collagen distributions within PDAC leads to microregional TPP values that vary on the hundred micron distance scale, causing micro-heterogeneous limitations in molecular perfusion, and narrows viable treatment regimes for systemically delivered therapeutics.




This work is under CC BY 4.0 license.

Original Citation

Nieskoski, M.D., Marra, K., Gunn, J.R. et al. Collagen Complexity Spatially Defines Microregions of Total Tissue Pressure in Pancreatic Cancer. Sci Rep 7, 10093 (2017).