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High-resolution imaging with contrast agent shows promise in osteoarthritis research

s have already addressed a significant technical hurdle in making the imaging technique feasible. They researched several contrast agents and tried two others before choosing HexabrixTM, which is approved by the Food and Drug Administration for use as a contrast agent for various imaging procedures in humans. When diluted, it produced an X-ray signal that allowed distinction of bone from cartilage.

"The ability to separate bone from cartilage in the microCT scan is a big deal," Guldberg said. "It suggests that this technique may work in vivo."

But dilution reduces the contrast agent's sensitivity and therefore the technique's PG-monitoring capability, the authors write in their paper. "In this next phase of research, we hope to find a one-shot concentration of the contrast agent that works for analyzing both cartilage thickness and composition," said Levenston, the lead author on the paper.

In addition, the researchers must address technical issues involving the in vivo delivery and retention of a sufficient volume and concentration of the contrast agent, they note in the paper.

"But even if the technique only works for in vitro studies, it still provides useful quantitative, high-resolution, 3D images that researchers can use to nondestructively monitor cartilage degeneration and even regeneration in small animal models," Guldberg said.


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Contact: Jane M. Sanders
jsanders@gatech.edu
404-894-2214
Georgia Institute of Technology Research News
4-Dec-2006


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