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Proceedings Paper

PSOCT studies of intervertebral disk
Author(s): Stephen John Matcher; Peter C. Winlove; Sergey V. Gangnus
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Paper Abstract

Polarization-sensitive optical coherence tomography (PSOCT) is an emerging optical imaging technique that is sensitive to the birefringence properties of tissues. It thus has applications in studying the large-scale ordering of collagen fibers within connective tissues. This ordering not only provides useful insights into the relationship between structure and function for various anatomical structures but also is an indicator of pathology. Intervertebral disk is an elastic tissue of the spine and possesses a 3-D collagen structure well suited to study using PSOCT. Since the outer layer of the disk has a lamellar structure with collagen fibers oriented in a trellis-like arrangement between lamellae, the birefringence fast-axis shows pronounced variations with depth, on a spatial scale of about 100 μm. The lamellar thickness varies with age and possibly with disease. We have used a polarisation-sensitive optical coherence tomography system to measure the birefringence properties of freshly excised, hydrated bovine caudal intervertebral disk and compared this with equine flexor tendon. Our results clearly demonstrate the ability of PSOCT to detect the outer three lamellae, down to a depth of at least 700 μm, via discontinuities in the depth-resolved retardance. We have applied a simple semi-empirical model based on Jones calculus to quantify the variation in the fast-axis orientation with depth. Our data and modeling is in broad agreement with previous studies using x-ray diffraction and polarization microscopy applied to histological sections of dehydrated disk. Our results imply that PSOCT may prove a useful tool to study collagen organisation within intervertebral disk in vitro and possibly in vivo and its variation with age and disease.

Paper Details

Date Published: 1 July 2004
PDF: 8 pages
Proc. SPIE 5316, Coherence Domain Optical Methods and Optical Coherence Tomography in Biomedicine VIII, (1 July 2004); doi: 10.1117/12.528267
Show Author Affiliations
Stephen John Matcher, Univ. of Exeter (United Kingdom)
Peter C. Winlove, Univ. of Exeter (United Kingdom)
Sergey V. Gangnus, Univ. of Exeter (United Kingdom)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 5316:
Coherence Domain Optical Methods and Optical Coherence Tomography in Biomedicine VIII
Valery V. Tuchin; Joseph A. Izatt; James G. Fujimoto, Editor(s)

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