Anisotropy of Articular Cartilage Reflects the ECM Gradient Architecture: Hough-Radon Transform Analysis

Ashkan Heidarkhan-Tehrani, Sanjleena Singh, Yin Xiao, and Adekunle Oloyede


Articular cartilage, Zonal organization, Hough-Radon transform, cellular neural network, dilation


Tissue-specific extracellular matrix (ECM) is known to be an ideal bioscaffold to inspire the future of regenerative medicine. It holds the secret of how nature has developed such an organization of molecules into a unique functional complexity. This work exploited an innovative image processing algorithm and high resolution microscopy associated with mechanical analysis to establish a correlation between the gradient organization of cartiligous ECM and its anisotropic biomechanical response. This was hypothesized to be a reliable determinant that can elucidate how microarchitecture interrelates with biomechanical properties. Hough-Radon transform of the ECM cross-section images revealed its conformational variation from tangential interface down to subchondral region. As the orientation varied layer by layer, the anisotropic mechanical response deviated relatively. Although, results were in good agreement (Kendall's tau-b > 90%), there were evidences proposing that alignment of the fibrous network, specifically in middle zone, is not as random as it was previously thought.

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