Microscopy of bone cells, bone tissue, and bone healing around implants.
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Newer methods of scanning microscopy using both light and electrons are particularly relevant to the study of bone cells, bone matrix organization, matrix mineralization, bone modeling and remodeling, and the adaptation of cells and matrix to implants. Most of such studies are conducted on retrieved implants, at least after the death of the related tissue. Because the retention of the tissue-implant relationship in such preserved tissue is crucial for critical evaluation of the implant, methods based on the study of flat surfaces of embedded tissue blocks are very important. Using electrons, the backscattered electrons in a scanning electron microscope can be employed to evaluate mean atomic number (density) and cathodoluminescence can identify polymers and fluorescent labels. Using light, confocal microscopical techniques permit the examination of layers deep to the block face. Confocal reflected and fluorescence methods allow the study of cell behavior upon both transparent and opaque substrates in the laboratory. Examples of the above are presented and interpretation problems discussed. Current experiments are aimed at enabling the study of bone wound healing and bone adaptation to implanted materials in vivo, through the implantation of optical quality windows and/or newly conceived and designed microscopical objective lenses.
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