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X-ray microtomography is a novel method for accurate evaluation of small-bowel mucosal morphology and surface area

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


Original languageEnglish
Article number13164
Number of pages11
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2020
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


The often poorly orientated small-bowel mucosal biopsies taken for the diagnostics of celiac disease and other intestinal disorders are prone to misinterpretation. Furthermore, conventional histopathology has suboptimal sensitivity for early histopathological changes observed in short-term challenge studies. X-ray microtomography (micro-CT) is a promising new method for accurate imaging of human-derived biological samples. Here, we report that micro-CT could be utilized to create virtual reconstructions of endoscopically obtained intestinal biopsies. The formed digital 3D images enabled selection of always optimal cutting angles for accurate measurement of the mucosal damage and revealed diagnostic lesions in cases interpreted as normal with conventional histomorphometry. We also demonstrate that computer-assisted point cloud analysis can be used to calculate biologically meaningful surface areas of the biopsies in different stages of mucosal damage with excellent replicability and correlation with other disease parameters. We expect the improved diagnostic accuracy and capability to measure the surface areas to provide a powerful tool for the diagnostics of intestinal diseases and for future clinical and pharmaceutical trials.

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Field of science, Statistics Finland