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Review

A Review of Ex Vivo X-ray Microfocus Computed Tomography-Based Characterization of the Cardiovascular System

by 1,2,†, 1,2,† and 1,2,3,4,*
1
Institute of Mechanics, Materials, and Civil Engineering, Université Catholique de Louvain, 1348 Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium
2
Institute of Experimental and Clinical Research, Université Catholique de Louvain, 1200 Woluwe-Saint-Lambert, Belgium
3
Department of Materials Engineering, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, 3001 Leuven, Belgium
4
Prometheus, Division of Skeletal Tissue Engineering, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, 3000 Leuven, Belgium
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
These authors have contributed equally and join the first authorship.
Academic Editor: Anastasios Lymperopoulos
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(6), 3263; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijms22063263
Received: 19 February 2021 / Revised: 17 March 2021 / Accepted: 18 March 2021 / Published: 23 March 2021
(This article belongs to the Section Molecular Pathology, Diagnostics, and Therapeutics)
Cardiovascular malformations and diseases are common but complex and often not yet fully understood. To better understand the effects of structural and microstructural changes of the heart and the vasculature on their proper functioning, a detailed characterization of the microstructure is crucial. In vivo imaging approaches are noninvasive and allow visualizing the heart and the vasculature in 3D. However, their spatial image resolution is often too limited for microstructural analyses, and hence, ex vivo imaging is preferred for this purpose. Ex vivo X-ray microfocus computed tomography (microCT) is a rapidly emerging high-resolution 3D structural imaging technique often used for the assessment of calcified tissues. Contrast-enhanced microCT (CE-CT) or phase-contrast microCT (PC-CT) improve this technique by additionally allowing the distinction of different low X-ray-absorbing soft tissues. In this review, we present the strengths of ex vivo microCT, CE-CT and PC-CT for quantitative 3D imaging of the structure and/or microstructure of the heart, the vasculature and their substructures in healthy and diseased state. We also discuss their current limitations, mainly with regard to the contrasting methods and the tissue preparation. View Full-Text
Keywords: microCT; heart; vasculature; structural characterization; morphometrics; ex vivo microCT; heart; vasculature; structural characterization; morphometrics; ex vivo
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MDPI and ACS Style

Leyssens, L.; Pestiaux, C.; Kerckhofs, G. A Review of Ex Vivo X-ray Microfocus Computed Tomography-Based Characterization of the Cardiovascular System. Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22, 3263. https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijms22063263

AMA Style

Leyssens L, Pestiaux C, Kerckhofs G. A Review of Ex Vivo X-ray Microfocus Computed Tomography-Based Characterization of the Cardiovascular System. International Journal of Molecular Sciences. 2021; 22(6):3263. https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijms22063263

Chicago/Turabian Style

Leyssens, Lisa, Camille Pestiaux, and Greet Kerckhofs. 2021. "A Review of Ex Vivo X-ray Microfocus Computed Tomography-Based Characterization of the Cardiovascular System" International Journal of Molecular Sciences 22, no. 6: 3263. https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijms22063263

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