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Correction of distortion of histologic sections of arteries

Journal of Biomechanics
Publication Date
DOI: 10.1016/j.jbiomech.2005.12.019
  • Coronary Artery
  • Histology
  • Section Distortion
  • Three-Dimensional Reconstruction
  • Finite Element Model
  • Mathematics
  • Medicine


Abstract Histologic sections of arteries can be used to generate three-dimensional (3D) geometric models and identify structural constituents. However, geometric distortions are introduced by fixation, embedding and sectioning; distortions which can, for example, lead to errors in stresses predicted by finite element models. We developed a method to measure and correct for distortions caused by acrylic processing and applied it to intact, healthy porcine coronary arteries. Micro-computed tomography was used to image arteries in the fresh and embedded states. Tissue blocks were sectioned, stained and imaged using a light microscope. Each section contained four registration marks used to determine strains introduced by sectioning and staining. Using these three image sets, 3D geometric models were generated and distortions were measured. Fixation, processing, and embedding resulted in shrinkage of 6.4±2.3% axially and 35.4±5.0% in mean cross-sectional area ( n = 5 ). Shrinkage in a cross section was well characterized by a uniform, equibiaxial strain. Sectioning and staining resulted in additional compressive strains in the sectioning direction of 0.067±0.011 and, in the direction perpendicular to sectioning, of 0.023±0.005 ( n = 5 ). These strains are assumed uniform and form the basis for correcting section geometry. Reconstructions using corrections for sectioning and shrinkage-related distortions had errors of 1.6±0.5% ( n = 5 ) and 4.0±1.7% ( n = 5 ), respectively.

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