Development of 3D Histopathological Grading of Osteoarthritis


Project description

Histopathological grading of osteochondral tissue is widely used in osteoarthritis (OA) research, and it is relatively common in post-surgery in vitro diagnostics. However, relying on thin tissue section, this approach includes a number of limitations, such as: (1) destructiveness, (2) sample processing artefacts, (3) 2D section does not represent spatial 3D structure and composition of the tissue, and (4) the final outcome is subjective.

To overcome these limitations, the aim of the project is to develop the first and fully-automated 3D histopathological grading system for osteoarthritis using cutting-edge micro-CT (Computed Tomography) technology in vitro. The developed system will be used to better understand the beginning phases of osteoarthritis. Finally, the potential of obtaining histopathological micro-level information from osteochondral tissue in vivo (using radiography, CT and MRI) will be investigated by using modern machine learning based methods.

This is the very first study to develop a comprehensive 3D histopathological grading system for osteoarthritis in vitro, and associate it with the corresponding in vivo imaging data. Furthermore, the developed technique hugely improves the understanding of the beginning phases of OA. Ultimately, the study may contribute for improving OA patients’ quality of life by slowing the disease progression, and for providing powerful tools to develop new OA therapies.

Project coordinator

University of Oulu


Simo Saarakkala

Simo Saarakkala

Professor, ERC Grantee
Santeri Rytky

Santeri Rytky

Doctoral student