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Volume 187, 2016
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Investigation of intervertebral disc degeneration using multivariate FTIR spectroscopic imaging

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Traditionally tissue samples are analysed using protein or enzyme specific stains on serial sections to build up a picture of the distribution of components contained within them. In this study we investigated the potential of multivariate curve resolution-alternating least squares (MCR-ALS) to deconvolute 2nd derivative spectra of Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) microscopic images measured in transflectance mode of goat and human paraffin embedded intervertebral disc (IVD) tissue sections, to see if this methodology can provide analogous information to that provided by immunohistochemical stains and bioassays but from a single section. MCR-ALS analysis of non-degenerate and enzymatically in vivo degenerated goat IVDs reveals five matrix components displaying distribution maps matching histological stains for collagen, elastin and proteoglycan (PG), as well as immunohistochemical stains for collagen type I and II. Interestingly, two components exhibiting characteristic spectral and distribution profiles of proteoglycans were found, and relative component/tissue maps of these components (labelled PG1 and PG2) showed distinct distributions in non-degenerate versus mildly degenerate goat samples. MCR-ALS analysis of human IVD sections resulted in comparable spectral profiles to those observed in the goat samples, highlighting the inter species transferability of the presented methodology. Multivariate FTIR image analysis of a set of 43 goat IVD sections allowed the extraction of semi-quantitative information from component/tissue gradients taken across the IVD width of collagen type I, collagen type II, PG1 and PG2. Regional component/tissue parameters were calculated and significant correlations were found between histological grades of degeneration and PG parameters (PG1: p = 0.0003, PG2: p < 0.0001); glycosaminoglycan (GAG) content and PGs (PG1: p = 0.0055, PG2: p = 0.0001); and MRI T2* measurements and PGs (PG1: p = 0.0021, PG2: p < 0.0001). Additionally, component/tissue parameters for collagen type I and II showed significant correlations with total collagen content (p = 0.0204, p = 0.0127). In conclusion, the presented findings illustrate, that the described multivariate FTIR imaging approach affords the necessary chemical specificity to be considered an important tool in the study of IVD degeneration in goat and human IVDs.

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Article information

11 Nov 2015
14 Jan 2016
First published
08 Apr 2016

This article is Open Access

Faraday Discuss., 2016,187, 393-414
Article type
Author version available

Investigation of intervertebral disc degeneration using multivariate FTIR spectroscopic imaging

K. T. Mader, M. Peeters, S. E. L. Detiger, M. N. Helder, T. H. Smit, C. L. Le Maitre and C. Sammon, Faraday Discuss., 2016, 187, 393
DOI: 10.1039/C5FD00160A

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