Murine Articular Cartilage Morphology and Compositional Quantification with High Resolution Cationic Contrast-enhanced μCT†

Published on Dec 1, 2017in Journal of Orthopaedic Research3.043
· DOI :10.1002/jor.23595
Maleeha Mashiatulla3
Estimated H-index: 3
Meghan M. Moran4
Estimated H-index: 4
+ 6 AuthorsDale R. Sumner47
Estimated H-index: 47
Articular cartilage lines the load-bearing surfaces of long bones and undergoes compositional and structural degeneration during osteoarthritis progression. Contrast enhanced microcomputed tomography (μCT) is being applied to a variety of preclinical models, including the mouse, to map structural and compositional properties in 3-D. The thinness (˜30-50 μm) and high cellularity of mouse articular cartilage presents a significant imaging challenge. Our group previously showed that mouse articular cartilage and proteoglycan (PG) content can be assessed by μCT with the ioxagalate-based contrast agent Hexabrix, but the voxel size used (6 μm) was deemed to be barely adequate. The objective of the present study is to assess the utility of a novel contrast agent, CA4+, to quantify mouse articular cartilage morphology and composition with high resolution μCT imaging (3 μm voxels) and to compare the sensitivity of CA4+ and Hexabrix to detect between-group differences. While both contrast agents are iodine-based, Hexabrix is anionic and CA4+ is cationic so they interact differently with negatively charged PGs. With CA4+, a strong correlation was found between non-calcified articular cartilage thickness measurements made with histology and μCT (R2 = 0.72, p < 0.001). Cartilage degeneration - as assessed by loss in volume, thickness and PG content - was observed in 34-week old mice when compared to both 7- and 12-week old mice. High measurement precision was observed with CA4+, with the coefficient of variation after repositioning and re-imaging samples equaling 2.8%, 4.5%, 7.4% and 5.9% for attenuation, thickness, volume, and PG content, respectively. Use of CA4+ allowed increased sensitivity for assessing PG content compared to Hexabrix, but had no advantage for measurement of cartilage thickness or volume. This improvement in imaging should prove useful in preclinical studies of cartilage degeneration and regeneration. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved
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