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A review of techniques for visualising soft tissue microstructure deformation and quantifying strain Ex Vivo

DOI: 10.1111/jmi.12701 DOI Help

Authors: C. M. Disney (University of Manchester) , P. D. Lee (University of Manchester) , J. A. Hoyland (University of Manchester; Central Manchester University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust) , M. J. Sherratt (University of Manchester) , B. K. Bay (Oregon State University)
Co-authored by industrial partner: No

Type: Journal Paper
Journal: Journal Of Microscopy , VOL 35

State: Published (Approved)
Published: April 2018
Diamond Proposal Number(s): 12776

Abstract: Many biological tissues have a complex hierarchical structure allowing them to function under demanding physiological loading conditions. Structural changes caused by ageing or disease can lead to loss of mechanical function. Therefore, it is necessary to characterise tissue structure to understand normal tissue function and the progression of disease. Ideally intact native tissues should be imaged in 3D and under physiological loading conditions. The current published in situ imaging methodologies demonstrate a compromise between imaging limitations and maintaining the samples native mechanical function. This review gives an overview of in situ imaging techniques used to visualise microstructural deformation of soft tissue, including three case studies of different tissues (tendon, intervertebral disc and artery). Some of the imaging techniques restricted analysis to observational mechanics or discrete strain measurement from invasive markers. Full‐field local surface strain measurement has been achieved using digital image correlation. Volumetric strain fields have successfully been quantified from in situ X‐ray microtomography (micro‐CT) studies of bone using digital volume correlation but not in soft tissue due to low X‐ray transmission contrast. With the latest developments in micro‐CT showing in‐line phase contrast capability to resolve native soft tissue microstructure, there is potential for future soft tissue mechanics research where 3D local strain can be quantified. These methods will provide information on the local 3D micromechanical environment experienced by cells in healthy, aged and diseased tissues. It is hoped that future applications of in situ imaging techniques will impact positively on the design and testing of potential tissue replacements or regenerative therapies.

Journal Keywords: Artery; digital volume correlation (DVC); in situ imaging; invertebral disc (IVD); micro-CT; tendon

Subject Areas: Technique Development, Physics, Biology and Bio-materials


Instruments: I13-2-Diamond Manchester Imaging