A new method allows calcified and constricted blood vessels to be visualized with micrometer precision, and can be used to design containers for targeted drug delivery. Within the project “NO-stress”, materials scientists from the Medical Faculty of the University of Basel combined cutting-edge-imaging techniques to visualize and quantify the constrictions caused by atherosclerosis.
Cardiovascular diseases, including atherosclerosis, are associated with plaque formation and the most prevalent cause of death worldwide. Unlike vessels and other soft tissues, the plaque formed provides strong contrast in X-rays, as known from bone. So far, it has therefore been difficult or even impossible to identify soft tissues in the direct neighborhood of calcifications using X-rays.
Conventional micro-tomography using intense X-rays allows for the visualization of plaque (white) and muscle tissue (black). Biomaterials Science Center, University of Basel
A team of researchers from laboratories in three European countries, led by Bert Müller (Biomaterials Science Center at University of Basel), has developed a protocol that is based on the combination of hard X-ray tomography and established histology methods, to visualize the vessels constricted by atherosclerosis.
The data about the morphology of the constricted vessels is used to simulate blood flow and determine related shear stresses. The shear stress is significantly enhanced at the constrictions and forms the basis for the development of specialized nano-containers for the targeted and local delivery of vasodilation drugs.
Differentiation between soft and hard tissues
The new method combines known approaches and is not only suitable for the three-dimensional characterization of atherosclerotic blood vessels but also for any other combination of strongly and weakly X-ray absorbing species including cartilage and bone. It takes advantage of conventional X-ray absorption and, in addition, of X-ray phase contrast measurements, which are for example accessible via grating interferometry. As the phase contrast is much less dependent on the atomic number of the constituents than the absorption contrast, the soft tissues in the vicinity of hard tissues become much more easily visualized.
In summary, the authors demonstrate that strongly calcified arteries are thoroughly characterized by the combination of the non-destructive tomography measurements in X-ray absorption and phase contrast modes, and established histology techniques. The project “NO-stress” is funded within the National Research Programme NRP 62 “Smart Materials” by the Swiss National Science Foundation.
Margaret N Holme, Georg Schulz, Hans Deyhle, Timm Weitkamp, Felix Beckmann, Johannes A Lobrinus, Farhad Rikhtegar, Vartan Kurtcuoglu, Irene Zanette, Till Saxer, Bert Müller
Complementary X-ray tomography techniques for histology-validated three-dimensional imaging of soft and hard human tissues
Nature Protocols 9, 1401-1415 | doi:10.1038/nprot.2014.091
Prof. Bert Müller, Biomaterials Science Center at the University of Basel, Tel. +41 (0)61 265 96 60, E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Christoph Dieffenbacher | Universität Basel
Strength and ductility for alloys
27.05.2016 | Max-Planck-Institut für Eisenforschung GmbH
Computational high-throughput screening finds hard magnets containing less rare earth elements
25.05.2016 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Werkstoffmechanik IWM
A biological and energy-efficient process, developed and patented by the University of Innsbruck, converts nitrogen compounds in wastewater treatment facilities into harmless atmospheric nitrogen gas. This innovative technology is now being refined and marketed jointly with the United States’ DC Water and Sewer Authority (DC Water). The largest DEMON®-system in a wastewater treatment plant is currently being built in Washington, DC.
The DEMON®-system was developed and patented by the University of Innsbruck 11 years ago. Today this successful technology has been implemented in about 70...
Permanent magnets are very important for technologies of the future like electromobility and renewable energy, and rare earth elements (REE) are necessary for their manufacture. The Fraunhofer Institute for Mechanics of Materials IWM in Freiburg, Germany, has now succeeded in identifying promising approaches and materials for new permanent magnets through use of an in-house simulation process based on high-throughput screening (HTS). The team was able to improve magnetic properties this way and at the same time replaced REE with elements that are less expensive and readily available. The results were published in the online technical journal “Scientific Reports”.
The starting point for IWM researchers Wolfgang Körner, Georg Krugel, and Christian Elsässer was a neodymium-iron-nitrogen compound based on a type of...
In the Beyond EUV project, the Fraunhofer Institutes for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen and for Applied Optics and Precision Engineering IOF in Jena are developing key technologies for the manufacture of a new generation of microchips using EUV radiation at a wavelength of 6.7 nm. The resulting structures are barely thicker than single atoms, and they make it possible to produce extremely integrated circuits for such items as wearables or mind-controlled prosthetic limbs.
In 1965 Gordon Moore formulated the law that came to be named after him, which states that the complexity of integrated circuits doubles every one to two...
Characterization of high-quality material reveals important details relevant to next generation nanoelectronic devices
Quantum mechanics is the field of physics governing the behavior of things on atomic scales, where things work very differently from our everyday world.
When current comes in discrete packages: Viennese scientists unravel the quantum properties of the carbon material graphene
In 2010 the Nobel Prize in physics was awarded for the discovery of the exceptional material graphene, which consists of a single layer of carbon atoms...
24.05.2016 | Event News
20.05.2016 | Event News
19.05.2016 | Event News
27.05.2016 | Awards Funding
27.05.2016 | Life Sciences
27.05.2016 | Life Sciences