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Regional variations in discrete collagen fibre mechanics within intact intervertebral disc resolved using synchrotron computed tomography and digital volume correlation

DOI: 10.1016/j.actbio.2021.10.012 DOI Help

Authors: C. M. Disney (University College London) , J. Mo (University College London) , A. Eckersley (The University of Manchester) , A. J. Bodey (Diamond Light Source) , J. A. Hoyland (The University of Manchester; Central Manchester Foundation Trust, Manchester Academic Health Science Centre) , M. J. Sherratt (University of Manchester) , A. A. Pitsillides (Royal Veterinary College) , P. D. Lee (University College London) , B.k. Bay (Oregon State University)
Co-authored by industrial partner: No

Type: Journal Paper
Journal: Acta Biomaterialia , VOL 6

State: Published (Approved)
Published: October 2021
Diamond Proposal Number(s): 19322

Open Access Open Access

Abstract: Many soft tissues, such as the intervertebral disc (IVD), have a hierarchical fibrous composite structure which suffers from regional damage. We hypothesise that these tissue regions have distinct, inherent fibre structure and structural response upon loading. Here we used synchrotron computed tomography (sCT) to resolve collagen fibre bundles (∼5μm width) in 3D throughout an intact native rat lumbar IVD under increasing compressive load. Using intact samples meant that tissue boundaries (such as endplate-disc or nucleus-annulus) and residual strain were preserved; this is vital for characterising both the inherent structure and structural changes upon loading in tissue regions functioning in a near-native environment. Nano-scale displacement measurements along >10,000 individual fibres were tracked, and fibre orientation, curvature and strain changes were compared between the posterior-lateral region and the anterior region. These methods can be widely applied to other soft tissues, to identify fibre structures which cause tissue regions to be more susceptible to injury and degeneration. Our results demonstrate for the first time that highly-localised changes in fibre orientation, curvature and strain indicate differences in regional strain transfer and mechanical function (e.g. tissue compliance). This included decreased fibre reorientation at higher loads, specific tissue morphology which reduced capacity for flexibility and high strain at the disc-endplate boundary.

Subject Areas: Biology and Bio-materials

Instruments: I13-2-Diamond Manchester Imaging

Added On: 13/10/2021 09:51


Discipline Tags:

Life Sciences & Biotech Health & Wellbeing

Technical Tags:

Imaging Tomography