A Novel Scanning and Staining Methodology for Visualizing Skeletal and Soft Tissue Using Micro-CT




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While there are many forms of radiological imaging that can be used to gather anatomical data from biological specimens, micro-computed tomography (micro-CT) imaging has been the standard for visualizing dense tissue, such as bone, with detailed resolution. However, this imaging modality is not well suited for soft tissues due to their decreased tissue density. This inability to distinguish between soft tissues in CT scans limits our ability to investigate bone-muscle interactions that are thought to stimulate and direct bone modeling during early postnatal development. The goal of this project was to develop a novel CT protocol that incorporates at least two new methods for visualizing soft tissue in CT imaging: iodine staining intended to capture muscle, and ruthenium red staining intended to capture cartilage. The ultimate goal is to enable the creation of an anatomical model that shows the development of both skeletal and soft tissue structures in the crania of neonatal mice from birth to weaning.