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Nat Protoc. 2011 Jan;6(1):105-10. doi: 10.1038/nprot.2010.180. Epub 2011 Jan 6.

Microcomputed tomography-based structural analysis of various bone tissue regeneration models.

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Skeletal Biotech Laboratory, The Hebrew University-Hadassah Faculty of Dental Medicine, Ein Kerem, Jerusalem, Israel.


Microcomputed tomography (microCT) analysis is a powerful tool for the evaluation of bone tissue because it provides access to the 3D microarchitecture of the bone. It is invaluable for regenerative medicine as it provides the researcher with the opportunity to explore the skeletal system both in vivo and ex vivo. The quantitative assessment of macrostructural characteristics and microstructural features may improve our ability to estimate the quality of newly formed bone. We have developed a unique procedure for analyzing data from microCT scans to evaluate bone structure and repair. This protocol describes the procedures for microCT analysis of three main types of mouse bone regeneration models (ectopic administration of bone-forming mesenchymal stem cells, and administration of cells after both long bone defects and cranial segmental bone defects) that can be easily adapted for a variety of other models. Precise protocols are crucial because the system is extremely user sensitive and results can be easily biased if standardized methods are not applied. The suggested protocol takes 1.5-3.5 h per sample, depending on bone tissue sample size, the type of equipment used, variables of the scanning protocol and the operator's experience.

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