University of Oulu

Ylitalo, T., Finnilä, M.A., Gahunia, H.K., Karhula, S.S., Suhonen, H., Valkealahti, M., Lehenkari, P., Hæggström, E., Pritzker, K.P., Saarakkala, S. and Nieminen, H.J. (2019), Quantifying Complex Micro-Topography of Degenerated Articular Cartilage Surface by Contrast-Enhanced Micro-Computed Tomography and Parametric Analyses. J. Orthop. Res., 37: 855-866.

Quantifying complex micro‐topography of degenerated articular cartilage surface by contrast‐enhanced micro‐computed tomography and parametric analyses

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Author: Ylitalo, Tuomo1,2; Finnilä, Mikko A.J.1,3,4; Gahunia, Harpal K.5;
Organizations: 1Research Unit of Medical Imaging, Physics and Technology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
2Department of Physics, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland
3Department of Applied Physics University of Eastern Finland, Kuopio, Finland
4Medical Research Center Oulu, Oulu University Hospital and University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
5Orthopedic Science Consulting Services, Oakville, Ontario, Canada
6Infotech Oulu, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
7Department of Surgery and Intensive Care, University of Oulu and Oulu University Hospital, Oulu, Finland
8Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada
9Mount Sinai Hospital, Toronto, Canada
10Department of Diagnostic Radiology, Oulu University Hospital, Oulu, Finland
11Department of Neuroscience and Biomedical Engineering, Aalto University, Espoo, Finland
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.7 MB)
Persistent link:
Language: English
Published: John Wiley & Sons, 2019
Publish Date: 2019-04-30


One of the earliest changes in osteoarthritis (OA) is a surface discontinuity of the articular cartilage (AC), and these surface changes become gradually more complex with OA progression. We recently developed a contrast enhanced micro‐computed tomography (μCT) method for visualizing AC surface in detail. The present study aims to introduce a μCT analysis technique to parameterize these complex AC surface features and to demonstrate the feasibility of using these parameters to quantify degenerated AC surface. Osteochondral plugs (n = 35) extracted from 19 patients undergoing joint surgery were stained with phosphotungstic acid and imaged using μCT. The surface micro‐topography of AC was analyzed with developed method. Standard root mean square roughness (Rq) was calculated as a reference, and the Area Under Curve (AUC) for receiver operating characteristic analysis was used to compare the acquired quantitative parameters with semi‐quantitative visual grading of μCT image stacks. The parameters quantifying the complex micro‐topography of AC surface exhibited good sensitivity and specificity in identifying surface continuity (AUC: 0.93, [0.80 0.99]), fissures (AUC: 0.94, [0.83 0.99]) and fibrillation (AUC: 0.98, [0.88 1.0]). Standard Rq was significantly smaller compared with the complex roughness (CRq) already with mild surface changes with all surface reference parameters − continuity, fibrillation, and fissure sum. Furthermore, only CRq showed a significant difference when comparing the intact surface with lowest fissure sum score. These results indicate that the presented method for evaluating complex AC surfaces exhibit potential to identify early OA changes in superficial AC and is dynamic throughout OA progression.

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Series: Journal of orthopaedic research
ISSN: 0736-0266
ISSN-E: 1554-527X
ISSN-L: 0736-0266
Volume: 37
Issue: 4
Pages: 855 - 866
DOI: 10.1002/jor.24245
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 3126 Surgery, anesthesiology, intensive care, radiology
Funding: Financial support from the Academy of Finland (grant nos. 268378 and 273571), the European Research Council under the European Union's Seventh Framework Programme (FP/2007‐2013)/ERC Grant Agreement no. 336267, Business Finland (grant no. 4536/31/2016) and strategic funding of the University of Oulu are acknowledged.
EU Grant Number: (336267) 3D-OA-HISTO - Development of 3D Histopathological Grading of Osteoarthritis
Academy of Finland Grant Number: 268378
Detailed Information: 268378 (Academy of Finland Funding decision)
273571 (Academy of Finland Funding decision)
Copyright information: © 2019 The Authors. Journal of Orthopaedic Research® Published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. on behalf of the Orthopaedic Research Society. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs License, which permits use and distribution in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, the use is non-commercial and no modifications or adaptations are made.