M. Doube, E. C. Firth,* A. Boyde

Biophysics, Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry, Centre for Oral Growth and Development, Queen Mary, University of London, U.K.; *Institute of Veterinary, Animal and Biomedical Sciences, Massey University, Palmerston North, New Zealand

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Summary: Combined backscattered electron scanning electron microscopy (BSE SEM) and confocal scanning laser microscopy (CSLM) have been used to put tissue mineralization data into the context of soft tissue histology and fluorescent label information. Mineralization density (Dm) and linear accretion rate (LAR) are quantifiable parameters associated with mineralizing fronts within calcified tissues. Quantitative BSE (qBSE) may be used to determine Dm, while CSLM may be used to detect label fluorescence from which LAR is calculated. Eighteen-month old Thoroughbred horses received single calcein injections 19 and 8 days prior to euthanasia, labeling sites of active mineralization with fluorescent bands. Confocal scanning laser microscopy images of articular calcified cartilage (ACC) from distal third metacarpal condyles were registered to qBSE images of the same sites using an in-house program. ImageJ and Sync Windows enabled the simultaneous collection of LAR and Dm data. The repeatability of the registration and measurement protocols was determined. Dm profiles between calcein labels were explored for an association with time. Dm was 119.7 ± 24.5 (mean ± standard deviation) gray levels (where 0 = backscattering from monobrominated and 255 from monoiodinated dimethacrylate standards, respectively), while modal and maximum LAR were 0.45 and 3.45 µm/day, respectively. Coefficients of variation (CV) for Dm were 0.70 and 0.77% with and without repeat registration, respectively; CVs for LAR were 1.90 and 2.26% with and without repeat registration, respectively. No relationship was identified between Dm and time in the 11-day interlabel interval. Registration of CSLM to qBSE images is sufficiently repeatable for quantitative studies of equine ACC.

Key words: confocal scanning laser microscopy, quantitative backscattered electron scanning electron microscopy, image registration, articular calcified cartilage, equine

PACS: 07.05.Pj, 42.30.Va, 68.37.Hk