Prevention of cartilage dehydration in imaging studies with a customized humidity chamber
Choo, RJ and Firminger, C and Muller, R and Stok, KS, Prevention of cartilage dehydration in imaging studies with a customized humidity chamber, Review of Scientific Instruments, 84, (9) pp. 093703. ISSN 0034-6748 (2013) [Refereed Article]
Quantitative three-dimensional imaging methods such as micro-computed tomography (μCT) allow for the rapid and comprehensive evaluation of cartilage and bone in animal models, which can be used for drug development and related research in arthritis. However, when imaging fresh cartilage tissue in air, a common problem is tissue dehydration which causes movement artifact in the resulting images. These artifacts distort scans and can render them unusable, leading to a considerable loss of time and effort with sample preparation and measurement. The sample itself is also irretrievably damaged by the dehydration, often unable to return to its full tissue thickness upon rehydration. Additionally, imaging with ionic contrast agents such as HexabrixTM must be performed in air, otherwise the agent will be washed out if immersed in a liquid. The first goal of this study was to design a customized humidity chamber to maintain cartilage hydration without the need for immersion. Following this, the use of the humidity chamber during a synchrotron radiation-μCT scan was validated and its performance evaluated. Results showed that the loss of fluid film volume is associated with scanning at low humidity (87%), and can be avoided using the humidity chamber. Coupling this technology with advances in synchrotron imaging (e.g., phase contrast imaging) or contrast agents is promising.