X-ray phase contrast imaging of the bone–cartilage interface
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Synovial joints articulate in a lubricating environment, the system providing for smooth articulation. The articular cartilage overlying the bone consists of a network of collagen fibres. This network is essential to cartilage integrity, suffering damage in degenerative joint disease such as osteoarthritis. At Surrey and also in work conducted by this group at the Paul Scherrer Institute (PSI) synchrotron site we have been applying a number of techniques to study the bone-cartilage interface and of changes occurring in this with disease. One of the techniques attracting particular interest is X-ray phase contrast imaging, yielding information on anatomical features that manifest from the large scale organisation of collagen and the mineralised phase contained within the collagen fibres in the deep cartilage zone. This work briefly reviews some of the basic supporting physics of X-ray phase contrast imaging and then shows example images of the articular surface and subchondral bone and other supporting results obtained to-date. Present results have been obtained on sections of bone not displaying evidence of an osteoarthritic lesion and can be used as a baseline against which diseased bone can be compared.
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