Original Article

Quantitative assessment of rat bone regeneration using complex master-slave optical coherence tomography

Ruxandra Elena Luca, Carmen Darinca Todea, Virgil-Florin Duma, Adrian Bradu, Adrian Gh. Podoleanu


Background: The need for hard and soft tissues in oral implantology determined the development of methods and techniques to increase bone volume and their quality with different alternative materials used as substituents of patient’s natural bone. In addition, laser radiation can be used to accelerate the repair of fractures and to produce an increased volume of formed callus, as well as an increased bone mineral density.
Methods: The aim of this work is to evaluate the capability of an in-house developed multimodal complex master slave (CMS) enhanced swept source (SS) optical coherence tomography (OCT) imaging instrument to analyze the increase in the quantity and the improvement of the quality of newly-formed bone using low level laser therapy (LLLT). Bone formation is quantitatively assessed in 5 mm cylindrical defects made in the calvaria part of the skull of living rats. Samples are divided in three study groups: A, a negative control group, for which the natural healing process of the defect is investigated; B, a positive control group, for which bovine graft is used to stimulate bone formation, and C, a study group, in which bovine graft is added to the created defects and LLLT is applied throughout the entire healing period. The animals are sacrificed after 14, 21, and 30 days, and the samples are imaged using the multimodal CMS/SS-OCT instrument.
Results: The method allows for the simultaneous monitoring of the bone tissue via two perpendicular cross-sections and nine en-face images taken at adjustable depths into the sample. A global image with course axial resolution allows for the positioning of the field-of-view of the system on the area of interest on the tissue. The quantitative assessment of the process of bone formation is completed using the differences in brightness between the native bone, the artificial bone graft, and the newly-formed bone.
Conclusions: Group C is demonstrated to have a higher volume of newly-formed bone than Group B, which is better from this point of view than Group A. By analyzing the evolution of this volume of new bone in time, the most significant difference was after 21 days, therefore approximately after two thirds of the total time interval analyzed. After 30 days, the volumes of bone tend to move closer, as they begin to fill the available gap. The study demonstrates that OCT can assess quantitatively the positive impact of LLLT on bone regeneration.

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