High-Spatial-Resolution Three-dimensional Imaging of Human Spinal Cord and Column Anatomy with Postmortem X-ray Phase-Contrast Micro-CT.

Barbone, Giacomo E; Bravin, Alberto; Mittone, Alberto; Grosu, Sergio; Ricke, Jens; Cavaletti, Guido; Djonov, Valentin; Coan, Paola (2021). High-Spatial-Resolution Three-dimensional Imaging of Human Spinal Cord and Column Anatomy with Postmortem X-ray Phase-Contrast Micro-CT. Radiology, 298(1), pp. 135-146. Radiological Society of North America 10.1148/radiol.2020201622

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Background Modern high-spatial-resolution radiologic methods enable increasingly detailed volumetric postmortem investigations of human neuroanatomy for diagnostic, research, and educational purposes. Purpose To evaluate the viability of postmortem x-ray phase-contrast micro-CT to provide tissue-conserving, high-spatial-resolution, three-dimensional neuroimaging of the human spinal cord and column by comparing quality of x-ray phase-contrast micro-CT images of nondissected Thiel-embalmed human spines with images of extracted formalin-fixed human spinal cords. Specific focus was placed on assessing the detection of micrometric spinal cord soft-tissue structure and vasculature. Materials and Methods In this study from August 2015 to August 2019, three Thiel-embalmed human spinal column samples, unilaterally perfused with an iodinated vascular contrast agent, and three extracted formalin-fixed spinal cord samples were imaged postmortem at a synchrotron radiation facility. Propagation-based x-ray phase-contrast micro-CT was used with monochromatic 60-keV x-rays and a detector with either 46-µm or 8-µm pixel sizes. A single-distance phase-retrieval algorithm was applied to the acquired CT projection images in advance of filtered back projection CT reconstruction. The influence on image quality of Thiel versus formalin embalming was examined, and images were qualitatively evaluated in terms of the value of their anatomic representations. Results The x-ray phase-contrast micro-CT of Thiel-embalmed samples resulted in soft-tissue contrast within the vertebral canal, despite evident nervous tissue deterioration after Thiel embalming. Gross spinal cord anatomy, spinal meninges, contrast agent-enhanced spinal vasculature, and spinal nerves were all well rendered alongside surrounding vertebral bone structure. The x-ray phase-contrast micro-CT of formalin-fixed boneless cords led to much higher gray versus white matter contrast and to microscale visualization of deep medullary vasculature and neuronal perikarya. Conclusion This work demonstrated the use of x-ray phase-contrast micro-CT for detailed volumetric anatomic visualization of embalmed human spines. The method provided three-dimensional display of bone, nervous tissue, and vasculature at microscale resolutions without exogenous contrast agents. © RSNA, 2020 Online supplemental material is available for this article.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)

Division/Institute:

04 Faculty of Medicine > Pre-clinic Human Medicine > Institute of Anatomy
04 Faculty of Medicine > Pre-clinic Human Medicine > Institute of Anatomy > Topographical and Clinical Anatomy

UniBE Contributor:

Djonov, Valentin Georgiev

Subjects:

600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health

ISSN:

1527-1315

Publisher:

Radiological Society of North America

Language:

English

Submitter:

David Christian Haberthür

Date Deposited:

10 Dec 2020 16:12

Last Modified:

23 Dec 2020 01:34

Publisher DOI:

10.1148/radiol.2020201622

PubMed ID:

33107800

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/149200

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