X-ray Micro-Computed Tomography for Nondestructive Three-Dimensional (3D) X-ray Histology.
ABSTRACT: Historically, micro-computed tomography (?CT) has been considered unsuitable for histologic analysis of unstained formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded soft tissue biopsy specimens because of a lack of image contrast between the tissue and the paraffin. However, we recently demonstrated that ?CT can successfully resolve microstructural detail in routinely prepared tissue specimens. Herein, we illustrate how ?CT imaging of standard formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded biopsy specimens can be seamlessly integrated into conventional histology workflows, enabling nondestructive three-dimensional (3D) X-ray histology, the use and benefits of which we showcase for the exemplar of human lung biopsy specimens. This technology advancement was achieved through manufacturing a first-of-kind ?CT scanner for X-ray histology and developing optimized imaging protocols, which do not require any additional sample preparation. 3D X-ray histology allows for nondestructive 3D imaging of tissue microstructure, resolving structural connectivity and heterogeneity of complex tissue networks, such as the vascular network or the respiratory tract. We also demonstrate that 3D X-ray histology can yield consistent and reproducible image quality, enabling quantitative assessment of a tissue's 3D microstructures, which is inaccessible to conventional two-dimensional histology. Being nondestructive, the technique does not interfere with histology workflows, permitting subsequent tissue characterization by means of conventional light microscopy-based histology, immunohistochemistry, and immunofluorescence. 3D X-ray histology can be readily applied to a plethora of archival materials, yielding unprecedented opportunities in diagnosis and research of disease.
Project description:Histological investigations are indispensable with regards to the identification of structural tissue details but are limited to two-dimensional images, which are often visualized in one and the same plane for comparison reasons. Nondestructive three-dimensional technologies such as X-ray micro- and nanoCT have proven to provide valuable benefits for the understanding of anatomical structures as they allow visualization of structural details in 3D and from arbitrary viewing angles. Nevertheless, low attenuation of soft tissue has hampered their application in the field of 3D virtual histology. We present a hematein-based X-ray staining method that specifically targets the cell nuclei of cells, as demonstrated for a whole liver lobule of a mouse. Combining the novel staining protocol with the high resolving power of a recently developed nanoCT system enables the 3D visualization of tissue architecture in the nanometer range, thereby revealing the real 3D morphology and spatial distribution of the cell nuclei. Furthermore, our technique is compatible with conventional histology, as microscopic slides can be derived from the very same stained soft-tissue sample and further counter staining is possible. Thus, our methodology demonstrates future applicability for modern histopathology using laboratory X-ray CT devices.
Project description:High-spatial-resolution histology of coronary artery autopsy samples play an important role for understanding heart disease such as myocardial infarction. Unfortunately, classical histology is often destructive, has thick slicing, requires extensive sample preparation, and is time-consuming. X-ray micro-CT provides fast nondestructive 3D imaging but absorption contrast is often insufficient, especially for observing soft-tissue features with high resolution. Here we show that propagation-based x-ray phase-contrast tomography has the resolution and contrast to image clinically relevant soft-tissue features in intact coronary artery autopsy samples with cellular resolution. We observe microscopic lipid-rich plaques, individual adipose cells, ensembles of few foam cells, and the thin fibrous cap. The method relies on a small-spot laboratory x-ray microfocus source, and provides high-spatial resolution in all three dimensions, fast data acquisition, minimum sample distortion and requires no sample preparation.
Project description:The small size of the adult and developing mouse heart poses a great challenge for imaging in preclinical research. The aim of the study was to establish a phosphotungstic acid (PTA) ex-vivo staining approach that efficiently enhances the x-ray attenuation of soft-tissue to allow high resolution 3D visualization of mouse hearts by synchrotron radiation based ?CT (SR?CT) and classical ?CT. We demonstrate that SR?CT of PTA stained mouse hearts ex-vivo allows imaging of the cardiac atrium, ventricles, myocardium especially its fibre structure and vessel walls in great detail and furthermore enables the depiction of growth and anatomical changes during distinct developmental stages of hearts in mouse embryos. Our x-ray based virtual histology approach is not limited to SR?CT as it does not require monochromatic and/or coherent x-ray sources and even more importantly can be combined with conventional histological procedures. Furthermore, it permits volumetric measurements as we show for the assessment of the plaque volumes in the aortic valve region of mice from an ApoE-/- mouse model. Subsequent, Masson-Goldner trichrome staining of paraffin sections of PTA stained samples revealed intact collagen and muscle fibres and positive staining of CD31 on endothelial cells by immunohistochemistry illustrates that our approach does not prevent immunochemistry analysis. The feasibility to scan hearts already embedded in paraffin ensured a 100% correlation between virtual cut sections of the CT data sets and histological heart sections of the same sample and may allow in future guiding the cutting process to specific regions of interest. In summary, since our CT based virtual histology approach is a powerful tool for the 3D depiction of morphological alterations in hearts and embryos in high resolution and can be combined with classical histological analysis it may be used in preclinical research to unravel structural alterations of various heart diseases.
Project description:Advances in optical imaging modalities, such as optical coherence tomography (OCT), enable us to observe tissue microstructure at high resolution and in real time. Currently, core-needle biopsies are guided by external imaging modalities such as ultrasound imaging and x-ray computed tomography (CT) for breast and lung masses, respectively. These image-guided procedures are frequently limited by spatial resolution when using ultrasound imaging, or by temporal resolution (rapid real-time feedback capabilities) when using x-ray CT. One feasible approach is to perform OCT within small gauge needles to optically image tissue microstructure. However, to date, no system or core-needle device has been developed that incorporates both three-dimensional OCT imaging and tissue biopsy within the same needle for true OCT-guided core-needle biopsy. We have developed and demonstrate an integrated core-needle biopsy system that utilizes catheter-based 3-D OCT for real-time image-guidance for target tissue localization, imaging of tissue immediately prior to physical biopsy, and subsequent OCT imaging of the biopsied specimen for immediate assessment at the point-of-care. OCT images of biopsied ex vivo tumor specimens acquired during core-needle placement are correlated with corresponding histology, and computational visualization of arbitrary planes within the 3-D OCT volumes enables feedback on specimen tissue type and biopsy quality. These results demonstrate the potential for using real-time 3-D OCT for needle biopsy guidance by imaging within the needle and tissue during biopsy procedures.
Project description:Imaging mass spectrometry is becoming a key technology for the investigation of the molecular content of biological tissue sections in direct correlation with the underlying histology. Much of our work has been done with fresh-frozen tissue sections that has undergone minimal protein degradation between the time a tissue biopsy is sampled and the time it is snap-frozen so that no preserving or fixing agents need to be added to the frozen biopsy. However, in many sampling environments, immediate flash freezing may not be possible and so we have explored the use of ethanol-preserved, paraffin-embedded tissue specimens for proteomic analyses. Solvent-only preserved tissue specimens provide long-term preservation at room temperature, generation of high quality histological sections and little if any chemical alteration of the proteins. Using mouse organs, several key steps involved in the tissue dehydration process have been investigated to assess the potential of such preserved specimens for profiling and imaging mass spectrometry investigations.
Project description:OBJECTIVE:To develop an approach for radiology-pathology fusion of ex vivo histology of surgically excised pulmonary nodules with pre-operative CT, to radiologically map spatial extent of the invasive adenocarcinomatous component of the nodule. METHODS:Six subjects (age: 75?±?11 years) with pre-operative CT and surgically excised ground-glass nodules (size: 22.5?±?5.1 mm) with a significant invasive adenocarcinomatous component (>5 mm) were included. The pathologist outlined disease extent on digitized histology specimens; two radiologists and a pulmonary critical care physician delineated the entire nodule on CT (in-plane resolution: <0.8 mm, inter-slice distance: 1-5 mm). We introduced a novel reconstruction approach to localize histology slices in 3D relative to each other while using CT scan as spatial constraint. This enabled the spatial mapping of the extent of tumour invasion from histology onto CT. RESULTS:Good overlap of the 3D reconstructed histology and the nodule outlined on CT was observed (65.9?±?5.2%). Reduction in 3D misalignment of corresponding anatomical landmarks on histology and CT was observed (1.97?±?0.42 mm). Moreover, the CT attenuation (HU) distributions were different when comparing invasive and in situ regions. CONCLUSION:This proof-of-concept study suggests that our fusion method can enable the spatial mapping of the invasive adenocarcinomatous component from 2D histology slices onto in vivo CT. KEY POINTS:• 3D reconstructions are generated from 2D histology specimens of ground glass nodules. • The reconstruction methodology used pre-operative in vivo CT as 3D spatial constraint. • The methodology maps adenocarcinoma extent from digitized histology onto in vivo CT. • The methodology potentially facilitates the discovery of CT signature of invasive adenocarcinoma.
Project description:Hollow organs such as the lungs pose a considerable challenge for post-mortem imaging in preclinical research owing to their extremely low contrast and high structural complexity. The aim of our study was to enhance the contrast of tuberculosis lesions for their stratification by 3D x-ray-based virtual slicing. Organ samples were taken from five control and five tuberculosis-infected mice. Micro-Computed Tomography (CT) scans of the subjects were acquired in vivo (without contrast agent) and post-mortem (with contrast agent). The proposed contrast-enhancing technique consists of x-ray contrast agent uptake (silver nitrate and iodine) by immersion. To create the histology ground-truth, the CT scan of the paraffin block guided the sectioning towards specific planes of interest. The digitalized histological slides reveal the presence, extent, and appearance of the contrast agents in lung structures and organized aggregates of immune cells. These findings correlate with the contrast-enhanced micro-CT slice. The abnormal densities in the lungs due to tuberculosis disease are concentrated in the right tail of the lung intensity histograms. The increase in the width of the right tail (~376%) indicates a contrast enhancement of the details of the abnormal densities. Postmortem contrast agents enhance the x-ray attenuation in tuberculosis lesions to allow 3D visualization by polychromatic x-ray CT, providing an advantageous tool for virtual slicing of whole lungs. The proposed contrast-enhancing technique combined with computational methods and the diverse micro-CT modalities will open the doors to the stratification of lesion types associated with infectious diseases.
Project description:We conducted three-dimensional (3D) reconstruction of oral tongue squamous cell carcinoma (OTSCC) using serial histological sections to visualize the architecture of invasive tumors. Fourteen OTSCC cases were collected from archival paraffin-embedded specimens. Based on a pathodiagnostic survey of whole cancer lesions, a core tissue specimen (3?mm in diameter) was dissected out from the deep invasion front using a paraffin tissue microarray. Serial sections (4? ? m thick) were double immunostained with pan-cytokeratin and Ki67 antibodies and digitized images were acquired using virtual microscopy. For 3D reconstruction, image registration and RGB color segmentation were automated using ImageJ software to avoid operator-dependent subjective errors. Based on the 3D tumor architecture, we classified the mode of invasion into four types: pushing and bulky architecture; trabecular architecture; diffuse spreading; and special forms. Direct visualization and quantitative assessment of the parenchymal-stromal border provide a new dimension in our understanding of OTSCC architecture. These 3D morphometric analyses also ascertained that cell invasion (individually and collectively) occurs at the deep invasive front of the OTSCC. These results demonstrate the advantages of histology-based 3D reconstruction for evaluating tumor architecture and its potential for a wide range of applications.
Project description:Identification of adenocarcinoma (AC) and squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) histology of non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) in biopsies is clinically important but can be inaccurate by routine histopathologic examination. We quantify this inaccuracy at a cancer center, and evaluate the utility of a microRNA-based method to histotype AC/SCC in biopsies.RNA was extracted from tissue sections with greater than 90% tumor content that were macro- or micro-dissected from formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded biopsy specimens. MicroRNAs in RNA from the biopsies and from resected tumors were quantified by TaqMan reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction assays and normalized against the RNU6B housekeeping RNA. Publicly available microRNA expression datasets were examined.NSCLC subtyping of small biopsy specimens by routine histopathologic examination either failed or mistyped the histology of 21% of 190 cases. Using 77 resectates, an reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction-based assay of microRNAs miR-21, miR-205, and miR-375 was developed to identify AC and SCC subtypes of NSCLC. This method identified the AC/SCC histotypes of 25 biopsies with an accuracy of 96%, and correctly histotyped all 12 cases for which the histology had been mistyped by routine histopathologic examination of the biopsy. Examination of publicly available datasets identified miR-205 and miR-375 as microRNAs with the best ability to histotype AC and SCC, and that levels of the two microRNAs in AC or SCC are unaffected by the pathologic stage of the tumor or the age or race of the patient.Histotypic microRNA assays can aid the subtyping of NSCLC biopsies as AC or SCC by standard histopathologic methods.
Project description:Virtual histology - utilizing high-resolution three-dimensional imaging - is becoming readily available. Micro-computed tomography (micro-CT) is widely available and is often coupled with x-ray attenuating histological stains that mark specific tissue components for 3D virtual histology. In this study we describe a new tri-element x-ray attenuating stain and perfusion protocol that provides micro-CT contrast of the entire vasculature of an intact mouse. The stain - derived from an established histology stain (Verhoeff's) - is modified to enable perfusion through the vasculature; the attenuating elements of the stain are iodine, aluminum, and iron. After a 30-minute perfusion through the vasculature (10-minute flushing with detergent-containing saline followed by 15-minute perfusion with the stain and a final 5-minute saline flush), animals are scanned using micro-CT. We demonstrate that the new staining protocol enables sharp delineation of the vessel walls in three dimensions over the whole body; corresponding histological analysis verified that the CT stain is localized primarily in the endothelial cells and media of large arteries and the endothelium of smaller vessels, such as the coronaries. The rapid perfusion and scanning protocol ensured that all tissues are available for further analysis via higher resolution CT of smaller sections or traditional histological sectioning.