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Complementary X-ray tomography techniques for histology-validated 3D imaging of soft and hard tissues using plaque-containing blood vessels as examples


Holme, Margaret N; Schulz, Georg; Deyhle, Hans; Weitkamp, Timm; Beckmann, Felix; Lobrinus, Johannes A; Rikhtegar, Farhad; Kurtcuoglu, Vartan; Zanette, Irene; Saxer, Till; Müller, Bert (2014). Complementary X-ray tomography techniques for histology-validated 3D imaging of soft and hard tissues using plaque-containing blood vessels as examples. Nature Protocols, 9(6):1401-1415.

Abstract

A key problem in X-ray computed tomography is choosing photon energies for postmortem specimens containing both soft and hard tissues. Increasing X-ray energy reduces image artifacts from highly absorbing hard tissues including plaque, but it simultaneously decreases contrast in soft tissues including the endothelium. Therefore, identifying the lumen within plaque-containing vessels is challenging. Destructive histology, the gold standard for tissue evaluation, reaches submicron resolution in two dimensions, whereas slice thickness limits spatial resolution in the third. We present a protocol to systematically analyze heterogeneous tissues containing weakly and highly absorbing components in the original wet state, postmortem. Taking the example of atherosclerotic human coronary arteries, the successively acquired 3D data of benchtop and synchrotron radiation-based tomography are validated by histology. The entire protocol requires ∼20 working days, enables differentiation between plaque, muscle and fat tissues without using contrast agents and permits blood flow simulations in vessels with plaque-induced constrictions.

Abstract

A key problem in X-ray computed tomography is choosing photon energies for postmortem specimens containing both soft and hard tissues. Increasing X-ray energy reduces image artifacts from highly absorbing hard tissues including plaque, but it simultaneously decreases contrast in soft tissues including the endothelium. Therefore, identifying the lumen within plaque-containing vessels is challenging. Destructive histology, the gold standard for tissue evaluation, reaches submicron resolution in two dimensions, whereas slice thickness limits spatial resolution in the third. We present a protocol to systematically analyze heterogeneous tissues containing weakly and highly absorbing components in the original wet state, postmortem. Taking the example of atherosclerotic human coronary arteries, the successively acquired 3D data of benchtop and synchrotron radiation-based tomography are validated by histology. The entire protocol requires ∼20 working days, enables differentiation between plaque, muscle and fat tissues without using contrast agents and permits blood flow simulations in vessels with plaque-induced constrictions.

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19 citations in Web of Science®
21 citations in Scopus®
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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > Institute of Physiology
07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Physiology
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
Language:English
Date:2014
Deposited On:18 Feb 2015 15:05
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 18:53
Publisher:Nature Publishing Group
ISSN:1750-2799
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1038/nprot.2014.091
Official URL:http://www.nature.com/nprot/journal/v9/n6/full/nprot.2014.091.html
PubMed ID:24853926

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