To achieve the aim of using phase contrast imaging (PCI) for monitoring osteoarthritis (OA) in an animal model (objective a), we will collaborate with A. Bravin (ESRF, Grenoble, France) and employ the following steps: (1) Based on results from the first funding period on excised tissue we will optimise the set-up for small-animal in vivo imaging at the ESRF; (2) The optimised set-up will then be transferred to CALA in Garching and adapted to the BRIX source; (3) The feasibility of PCI for disease monitoring in an OA animal model will then be established in an in vivo, longitudinal study at the ESRF and in Garching. We will perform PCI computed tomography (CT) at high energies (>50 keV) on healthy and OA on small animal models (guinea pig knees and rabbits) in vivo using different PCI methods and comparing results with images obtained with conventional imaging techniques (absorption based CT, magnetic resonance imaging).
We will investigate OA parameters with histopathology as the standard of reference and Mankin- / ICRS II scoring. After a first phase dedicated to the proof of feasibility of the methods, we will examine the development of spontaneous OA in small animals in a one year follow-up, using both ESRF and CALA set-ups. Technical optimisation at ESRF and BRIX and appropriate data analysis routines will be established.