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Tissue Eng Part C Methods. 2012 Dec;18(12):935-46. doi: 10.1089/ten.TEC.2012.0180. Epub 2012 Jul 16.

Noninvasive, quantitative, spatiotemporal characterization of mineralization in three-dimensional collagen hydrogels using high-resolution spectral ultrasound imaging.

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Department of Biomedical Engineering, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, USA.


As tissue engineering products move toward the clinic, nondestructive methods to monitor their development and ensure quality are needed. In this study, high-resolution spectral ultrasound imaging (SUSI) was used to noninvasively characterize mineral content in collagen hydrogels. SUSI was used to generate three-dimensional (3D) grayscale (GS) images of construct morphology with submillimeter resolution. Spectral analysis of the backscattered radio frequency (RF) ultrasound signals was used to determine the midband fit (MBF) and slope of the linearized RF spectrum. These parameters are operator and instrument independent, and were used to characterize the spatial distribution of mineral in constructs supplemented with hydroxyapatite particles. GS and MBF correlated closely with mineral content, while slope was not dependent on concentration. SUSI also was used to monitor mineralization of collagen constructs by immersion in simulated body fluid (SBF) over 21 days. The construct surface was mineralized before the interior, and there was a dose-dependent effect of SBF concentration on degree of mineralization and deposited particle size. MBF density was closely correlated with the amount of calcium deposited. These data demonstrate that SUSI has utility as a noninvasive imaging method for quantitative analysis of mineralization in 3D protein constructs. Such techniques may assist the development of engineered orthopedic tissues.

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