2 October 2003 Polarization-sensitive OCT of bovine intervertebral disk
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Polarization-sensitive optical coherence tomography (PSOCT) is a powerful new optical imaging modality that is sensitive to the birefringence properties of tissues. It thus has potential applications in studying the large-scale ordering of collagen fibers within connective tissues and changes related to pathology. As a tissue for study by PSOCT, intervertebral disk represents an interesting system as the collagen organisation is believed to show pronounced variations with depth, on a spatial scale of about 100 microns .We have used a polarisation-sensitive optical coherence tomography system to measure the birefringence properties of bovine caudal intervertebral disk and compared this with equine flexor tendon. The result for equine tendon, Δn = (4.4 ± 0.15) x 10-3 at 1.3μm, is somewhat larger than values reported for bovine tendon. The annulus fibrosus of freshly excised intact bovine intervertebral disk displays an identical value of birefringence, Δn = (4.4 ± 0.4) x 10-3 at 1.3μm. However the retardance does not increase uniformly with depth into the tissue but displays a pronounced discontinuity at a depth of around 300 microns. This is believed to be related to the lamellar structure of this tissue, in which the collagen fiber orientation alternates between successive lamellae as depth into the tissue increases. The nucleus pulposus displays polarization conversion equivalent to a birefringence an order of magnitude smaller than these values i.e. Delta;n = (0.278 ± 0.007) x 10-3. Our measurement protocol cannot distinguish this from the effects of depolarization due to multiple scattering. These results imply that PSOCT could be a useful tool to study collagen organisation within intervertebral disk in vivo and its variation with applied load and disease.
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Stephen John Matcher, Stephen John Matcher, C. Peter Winlove, C. Peter Winlove, Sergei V. Gangnus, Sergei V. Gangnus, "Polarization-sensitive OCT of bovine intervertebral disk", Proc. SPIE 5140, Optical Coherence Tomography and Coherence Techniques, (2 October 2003); doi: 10.1117/12.500752; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.500752

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