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

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


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
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Biophotonics
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2016


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


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