We propose the use of second-harmonic generation (SHG) microscopy for imaging collagen fibers in porcine femoral cortical bone. The technique is compared with scanning electron microscopy (SEM). SHG microscopy is shown to have excellent potential for bone imaging primarily due its intrinsic specificity to collagen fibers, which results in high contrast images without the need for specimen staining. Furthermore, this technique's ability to quantitatively assess collagen fiber organization is evaluated through an exploratory examination of bone structure as a function of age, from very young to mature bone. In particular, four different age groups: 1 month, 3.5 months, 6 months, and 30 months, were studied. Specifically, we employ the recently developed Fourier transform-second harmonic generation (FT-SHG) imaging technique for the quantification of the structural changes, and observe that as the bone develops, there is an overall reduction in porosity, the number of osteons increases, and the collagen fibers become comparatively more organized. It is also observed that the variations in structure across the whole cross-section of the bone increase with age. The results of this work show that quantitative SHG microscopy can serve as a valuable tool for evaluating the structural organization of collagen fibers in ex vivo bone studies.
- Bone development
- Collagen type I
- Image analysis
- Scanning electron microscopy
- Second-harmonic generation microscopy
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism