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Sci Rep. 2017 Oct 16;7(1):13289. doi: 10.1038/s41598-017-13632-5.

Simultaneous visualisation of calcified bone microstructure and intracortical vasculature using synchrotron X-ray phase contrast-enhanced tomography.

Author information

1
Biological Sciences, Faculty of Natural and Environmental Sciences, University of Southampton, SO17 1BJ, England, UK. Juan.Nunez@soton.ac.uk.
2
Bioengineering Sciences Research Group, Faculty of Engineering and the Environment, University of Southampton, SO17 1BJ, England, UK. Juan.Nunez@soton.ac.uk.
3
Biological Sciences, Faculty of Natural and Environmental Sciences, University of Southampton, SO17 1BJ, England, UK.
4
Heisenberg-Group for Molecular Skeletal Biology, Department of Trauma, Hand and Reconstructive Surgery, University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf, Martinistrasse 52, D-20246, Hamburg, Germany.
5
Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology, Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis, IN, USA.
6
Bioengineering Sciences Research Group, Faculty of Engineering and the Environment, University of Southampton, SO17 1BJ, England, UK.
7
Institute of Lightweight Design and Structural Biomechanics, Vienna University of Technology, 1060, Vienna, Austria.

Abstract

3D imaging of the bone vasculature is of key importance in the understanding of skeletal disease. As blood vessels in bone are deeply encased in the calcified matrix, imaging techniques that are applicable to soft tissues are generally difficult or impossible to apply to the skeleton. While canals in cortical bone can readily be identified and characterised in X-ray computed tomographic data in 3D, the soft tissue comprising blood vessels that are putatively contained within the canal structures does not provide sufficient image contrast necessary for image segmentation. Here, we report an approach that allows for rapid, simultaneous visualisation of calcified bone tissue and the vasculature within the calcified bone matrix. Using synchrotron X-ray phase contrast-enhanced tomography we show exemplar data with intracortical capillaries uncovered at sub-micrometre level without the need for any staining or contrast agent. Using the tibiofibular junction of 15 week-old C57BL/6 mice post mortem, we show the bone cortical porosity simultaneously along with the soft tissue comprising the vasculature. Validation with histology confirms that we can resolve individual capillaries. This imaging approach could be easily applied to other skeletal sites and transgenic models, and could improve our understanding of the role the vasculature plays in bone disease.

PMID:
29038597
PMCID:
PMC5643345
DOI:
10.1038/s41598-017-13632-5
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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