Imaging of subchondral bone by optical coherence tomography upon optical clearing of articular cartilage

Alexander Bykov, Tapio Hautala, Matti Kinnunen, Alexey Popov, Sakari Karhula, Simo Saarakkala, Miika T. Nieminen, Valery Tuchin, Igor Meglinski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

49 Citations (Scopus)


Optical clearing is an effective method to reduce light scattering of biological tissues that provides significant enhancement of light penetration into the biological tissues making non-invasive diagnosis more feasible. In current report Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) in conjunction with optical clearing is applied for assessment of deep cartilage layers and cartilage-bone interface. The solution of Iohexol in water has been used as an optical clearing agent. The cartilage-bone boundary becomes visible after 15 min of optical clearing that enabling non-invasive estimation of its roughness: Sa = 10 ± 1 μm. The results show that for 0.9 mm thick cartilage optical clearing is stopped after 50 min with an increase of refractive index from 1.386 ± 0.008 to 1.510 ± 0.009. Current approach enables more reliable detection of arthroscopically inaccessible regions, including cartilage-bone boundary and subchondral bone, and potentially improves accuracy of the osteoarthritis diagnosis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)270-275
JournalJournal of Biophotonics
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2016
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Articular cartilage
  • Optical clearing
  • Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT)
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Subchondral bone


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