University of Oulu

Kestilä, I., Thevenot, J., Finnilä, M., Karhula, S., Hadjab, I., Kauppinen, S., Garon, M., Quenneville, E., Haapea, M., Rieppo, L., Pritzker, K., Buschmann, M., Nieminen, H., Saarakkala, S. (2018) In vitro method for 3D morphometry of human articular cartilage chondrons based on micro-computed tomography. Osteoarthritis and Cartilage, 26 (8), 1118-1126. doi:10.1016/j.joca.2018.05.012

In vitro method for 3D morphometry of human articular cartilage chondrons based on micro-computed tomography

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Author: Kestilä, I.1; Thevenot, J.2,3; Finnilä, M. A.1,4,5;
Organizations: 1Research Unit of Medical Imaging, Physics and Technology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Oulu
2Unit of Medical Imaging, Physics and Technology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Oulu
3Infotech Oulu, University of Oulu
4Department of Applied Physics, University of Eastern Finland
5Medical Research Center, University of Oulu
6Institute of Biomedical Engineering, Ecole Polytechnique de Montreal
7Biomomentum Inc.
8Department of Diagnostic Radiology, Oulu University Hospital
9Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology, University of Toronto
10Groupe de Recherche en Sciences et Technologies Biomédicales, Polytechnique Montreal
11Department of Physics, University of Helsinki
12Department of Neuroscience and Biomedical Engineering, Aalto University
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 1.2 MB)
Persistent link:
Language: English
Published: Elsevier, 2018
Publish Date: 2018-09-19


Objective: The aims of this study were: to 1) develop a novel sample processing protocol to visualize human articular cartilage (AC) chondrons using micro-computed tomography (μCT), 2) develop and validate an algorithm to quantify the chondron morphology in 3D, and 3) compare the differences in chondron morphology between intact and osteoarthritic AC.

Method: The developed protocol is based on the dehydration of samples with hexamethyldisilazane (HMDS), followed by imaging with a desktop μCT. Chondron density and depth, as well as volume and sphericity, were calculated in 3D with a custom-made and validated algorithm employing semi-automatic chondron selection and segmentation. The quantitative parameters were analyzed at three AC depth zones (zone 1: 0–10%; zone 2: 10–40%; zone 3: 40–100%) and grouped by the OARSI histological grades (OARSI grades 0–1.0, n = 6; OARSI grades 3.0–3.5, n = 6).

Results: After semi-automatic chondron selection and segmentation, 1510 chondrons were approved for 3D morphometric analyses. The chondrons especially in the deeper tissue (zones 2 and 3) were significantly larger (P < 0.001) and less spherical (P < 0.001), respectively, in the OARSI grade 3–3.5 group compared to the OARSI grade 0–1.0 group. No statistically significant difference in chondron density between the OARSI grade groups was observed at different depths.

Conclusion: We have developed a novel sample processing protocol for chondron imaging in 3D, as well as a high-throughput algorithm to semi-automatically quantify chondron/chondrocyte 3D morphology in AC. Our results also suggest that 3D chondron morphology is affected by the progression of osteoarthritis (OA).

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Series: Osteoarthritis and cartilage
ISSN: 1063-4584
ISSN-E: 1522-9653
ISSN-L: 1063-4584
Volume: 26
Issue: 8
Pages: 1118 - 1126
DOI: 10.1016/j.joca.2018.05.012
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 3126 Surgery, anesthesiology, intensive care, radiology
Funding: The financial support from the Academy of Finland (grants no. 268378, 273571, 311586); Sigrid Juselius Foundation; European Research Council under the European Union's Seventh Framework Programme (FP/2007-2013)/ERC Grant Agreement no. 336267; and the strategic funding of the University of Oulu are acknowledged.
Academy of Finland Grant Number: 268378
Detailed Information: 268378 (Academy of Finland Funding decision)
273571 (Academy of Finland Funding decision)
311586 (Academy of Finland Funding decision)
Copyright information: © 2018 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd on behalf of Osteoarthritis Research Society International. This is an open access article under the CC BY license (