Three-dimensional architecture of human diabetic peripheral nerves revealed by X-ray phase contrast holographic nanotomography

Lars B. Dahlin, Kristian R. Rix, Vedrana A. Dahl, Anders B. Dahl, Janus N. Jensen, Peter Cloetens, Alexandra Pacureanu, Simin Mohseni, Niels O.B. Thomsen, Martin Bech*

*Corresponding author for this work

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A deeper knowledge of the architecture of the peripheral nerve with three-dimensional (3D) imaging of the nerve tissue at the sub-cellular scale may contribute to unravel the pathophysiology of neuropathy. Here we demonstrate the feasibility of X-ray phase contrast holographic nanotomography to enable 3D imaging of nerves at high resolution, while covering a relatively large tissue volume. We show various subcomponents of human peripheral nerves in biopsies from patients with type 1 and 2 diabetes and in a healthy subject. Together with well-organized, parallel myelinated nerve fibres we show regenerative clusters with twisted nerve fibres, a sprouted axon from a node of Ranvier and other specific details. A novel 3D construction (with movie created) of a node of Ranvier with end segment of a degenerated axon and sprout of a regenerated one is captured. Many of these architectural elements are not described in the literature. Thus, X-ray phase contrast holographic nanotomography enables identifying specific morphological structures in 3D in peripheral nerve biopsies from a healthy subject and from patients with type 1 and 2 diabetes.

Original languageEnglish
Article number7592
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2020

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