Significance of Quantitative Analysis of Anisotropy in Connective Tissue

Connective tissues exhibit anisotropy due to nonmineralized or mineralized collagen fiber (trabecular bone) orientation. Quantitative analysis of the collagen fiber and trabecular orientation are important to evaluate physiological, pathological, and healing connective tissues, as well as to understand their mechanical properties. Anisotropy characteristics of the connective tissue are represented using various image information, such as red, green, blue (RGB) intensity and gray levels. Several methods have been developed to evaluate the directionality of the trabecular bone based on a binary image [32]. Fourier analysis, however, is useful to evaluate the image based on the gray level gradient. Fourier analysis has been applied to study connective tissue structures, including trabecular bone [18], ligament [29] and cornea [33]. Recent rapid progress of numerical processing of imaging data has enabled us to compute a two-dimensional fast Fourier transform (FFT) of a video image easily. Such an analysis can allow quantitative evaluation of connective tissue orientation, which will help to elucidate structural and material properties. It is also a powerful tool to study the healing and remodeling processes affected by biomechanical factors in a quantitative manner.

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