Chemically specific imaging and in-situ chemical analysis of articular cartilage with stimulated Raman scattering



Stimulated Raman scattering (SRS) has been applied to unstained samples of articular cartilage enabling the investigation of living cells within fresh tissue. Hyperspectral SRS measurements over the CH vibrational region showed variations in protein and lipid content within the cells, pericellular matrix and interterritorial matrix. Changes in the cells and pericellular matrix were investigated as a function of depth into the cartilage. Lipid was detected in the pericellular matrix of superficial zone chondrocytes. The spectral profile of lipid droplets within the chondrocytes indicated that they contained predominantly unsaturated lipids. The mineral content has been imaged by using the equation image vibration at 959 cm-1 and the equation image vibration at 1070 cm-1. Both changes in cells and mineralization are known to be important factors in the progression of osteoarthritis. SRS enables these to be visualized in fresh unstained tissue and consequently should benefit osteoarthiritis research. (© 2013 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim)