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In situ characterization of nanoscale strains in loaded whole joints via synchrotron X-ray tomography

Madi, K.; Staines, K.A.; Bay, B.K.; Javaheri, B.; Geng, H.; Bodey, A.J.; Cartmell, S.; Pitsillides, A.A.; Lee, P.D.


K. Madi

K.A. Staines

B.K. Bay

B. Javaheri

H. Geng

A.J. Bodey

S. Cartmell

A.A. Pitsillides

P.D. Lee


Imaging techniques for quantifying changes in the hierarchical structure of deforming joints are constrained by destructive sample treatments, sample-size restrictions and lengthy scan times. Here, we report the use of fast low-dose pink-beam synchrotron X-ray tomography in combination with mechanical loading at nanometric precision for in situ imaging, at resolutions below 100 nm, of the mechanical strain in intact untreated joints under physiologically realistic conditions. We show that in young, older and osteoarthritic mice, hierarchical changes in tissue structure and mechanical behaviour can be simultaneously visualized, and that the tissue structure at the cellular level correlates with the mechanical performance of the whole joint. We also use the tomographic approach to study the colocalization of tissue strains to specific chondrocyte lacunar organizations within intact loaded joints and to explore the role of calcified-cartilage stiffness on the biomechanics of healthy and pathological joints.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jul 18, 2019
Online Publication Date Nov 25, 2019
Publication Date 2020-03
Deposit Date Jul 22, 2019
Publicly Available Date May 26, 2020
Electronic ISSN 2157-846X
Publisher Springer Nature [academic journals on]
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 4
Issue 3
Pages 343-354
Keywords tissue imaging; diarthrodial joint; tissue structure; biomechanical functionality; joint loading
Public URL
Contract Date Jul 22, 2019