Background: Synchrotron X-ray computed tomography (SXCT) allows for three-dimensional imaging of objects at a very high resolution and in large field-of-view. Purpose: The aim of this study was to use SXCT imaging for morphological analysis of muscle tissue, in order to investigate whether the analysis reveals complementary information to two-dimensional microscopy. Methods: Three-dimensional SXCT images of muscle biopsies were taken from participants with cerebral palsy and from healthy controls. We designed morphological measures from the two-dimensional slices and three-dimensional volumes of the images and measured the muscle fibre organization, which we term orientation consistency. Results: The muscle fibre cross-sectional areas were significantly larger in healthy participants than in participants with cerebral palsy when carrying out the analysis in three dimensions. However, a similar analysis carried out in two dimensions revealed no patient group difference. The present study also showed that three-dimensional orientation consistency was significantly larger for healthy participants than for participants with cerebral palsy. Conclusion: Individuals with CP have smaller muscle fibres than healthy control individuals. We argue that morphometric measures of muscle fibres in two dimensions are generally trustworthy only if the fibres extend perpendicularly to the slice plane, and otherwise three-dimensional aspects should be considered. In addition, the muscle tissue of individuals with CP showed a decreased level of orientation consistency when compared to healthy control tissue. We suggest that the observed disorganization of the tissue may be induced by atrophy caused by physical inactivity and insufficient neural activation.
- Cerebral palsy
- Orientation consistency
- Synchrotron computed tomography
- Three-dimensional images