Characterisation of dystrophic skeletal muscle using polarisation-sensitive and needle-based optical coherence tomography

Xiao Jie Yang

    Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

    339 Downloads (Pure)


    [Truncated] Characterisation and assessment of skeletal muscle damage resulting from Duchenne muscular dystrophy is essential for the pharmaceutical and nutritional interventions being investigated as potential treatments for this disease. The conventional method of examining tissue by histological analysis requires excision, preservation, sectioning, staining, and evaluation by light microscopy and is, therefore, time-consuming and laborious. Moreover, preclinical and clinical research, respectively, require sacrifice of animals, which is costly, and biopsy from human patients, which is invasive. As importantly, it is not possible to perform a longitudinal study of the same animal or human tissue over an extended period of time. Biomedical imaging modalities, such as ultrasound, X-ray computed tomography, magnetic resonance imaging, and light microscopy, have been extensively studied and applied to muscle imaging. The spatial resolution provided by these clinical volumetric imaging modalities is typically not fine enough to resolve the ultrastructure of skeletal muscle, such as individual myofibres, that is required for full characterisation. Moreover, high radiation dose and low contrast in soft tissues remain issues for X-ray computed tomography and magnetic resonance imaging requires long acquisition times and is costly.

    Optical coherence tomography (OCT) potentially overcomes many of these limitations. OCT is a noninvasive, low-cost imaging modality providing volumetric data with spatial resolution of approximately 10 μm. OCT has been applied to imaging skeletal muscle tissue and has demonstrated potential for characterising muscle damage within dystrophic muscle in mouse models. However, OCT does not readily lend itself to automatic quantification of the proportion of muscle damage within a muscle sample, mainly because of its low contrast. This hampers the inter-scan or inter-sample comparison of the myopathology of the muscle, which is often required in assessment of skeletal muscle damage. Moreover, the penetration depth of OCT is limited to approximately 2 mm beneath the surface of skeletal muscle tissue. Visualisation of the internal structures of tissue ideally requires a greater penetration depth.


    Original languageEnglish
    QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
    Publication statusUnpublished - Oct 2014

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