Vascular channels in metacarpophalangeal joints: a comparative histologic and high-resolution imaging study

A. Scharmga, K.K. Keller, M. Peters, A. van Tubergen, J.P.W. van den Bergh, B. van Rietbergen, R. Weijers, D. Loeffen, E.M. Hauge, P.P.M.M. Geusens

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We evaluated whether cortical interruptions classified as vascular channel (VC) on high-resolution peripheral quantitative computed tomography (HR-pQCT) could be confirmed by histology. We subsequently evaluated the image characteristics of histologically identified VCs on matched single and multiplane HR-pQCT images. Four 3-mm thick portions in three anatomic metacarpophalangeal joint specimens were selected for histologic sectioning. First, VCs identified with HR-pQCT were examined for confirmation on histology. Second and independently, VCs identified by histology were matched to single and multiplane HR-pQCT images to assess for presence of cortical interruptions. Only one out of five cortical interruptions suggestive for VC on HR-pQCT could be confirmed on histology. In contrast, 52 VCs were identified by histology of which 39 (75%) could be classified as cortical interruption or periosteal excavation on matched single HR-pQCT slices. On multiplane HR-pQCT images, 11 (21%) showed a cortical interruption in at least two consecutive slices in two planes, 36 (69%) in at least one slice in two planes and five (10%) showed no cortical interruption. Substantially more VCs were present in histology sections than initially suggested by HR-pQCT. The small size and heterogeneous presentation, limit the identification as VC on HR-pQCT.

Original languageEnglish
Article number8966
Number of pages8
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2017


  • Journal Article


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