Vascular channels in metacarpophalangeal joints: a comparative histologic and highresolution imaging study

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

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


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
Publication statusPublished - 21 Aug 2017



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