Document Type

Article

Major

Mechanical Engineering

Mentor

Prof. Liisa Kuhn, Dept. of Biomedical Engineering (UConn Health)

Disciplines

Cell and Developmental Biology | Developmental Biology

Abstract

The growth plate is an active area of cartilage in the long bones of children. Its main function is to enable limb lengthening, but is a relatively weak structure that is prone to fractures and injuries. These injuries can have severe long term ramifications, as they can create premature bone fusion, also known as a bony bridge, that causes stunted or crooked growth. Dr. Liisa Kuhn’s Lab has developed an accurate, reproducible animal model that mimics this same growth plate behavior and can be used to further analyze the growth plate structure, healing process, and new treatments. This animal model uses mice with tri-lineage fluorescent reporters for collagen types I, II, and X. These reporters enable proper visualization of the growth plate and classification of the different cells of interest in the growth plate: proliferating cartilage, hypertrophic cartilage, and bone. Due to the importance of the columnar organization of these cells and the three dimensional nature of the growth plate, 3D light sheet microscopy (LSM) was used for the first time on mice tibias. Although our LSM imaging was unable to provide more insight into the cartilage structure and organization of growth plates in three dimensions, it further confirmed the presence of bony bridge formation and the reliability of the animal model used. The growth plate is an active area of cartilage in the long bones of children. Its main function is to enable limb lengthening, but is a relatively weak structure that is prone to fractures and injuries. These injuries can have severe long term ramifications, as they can create premature bone fusion, also known as a bony bridge, that causes stunted or crooked growth. Dr. Liisa Kuhn’s Lab has developed an accurate, reproducible animal model that mimics this same growth plate behavior and can be used to further analyze the growth plate structure, healing process, and new treatments. This animal model uses mice with tri-lineage fluorescent reporters for collagen types I, II, and X. These reporters enable proper visualization of the growth plate and classification of the different cells of interest in the growth plate: proliferating cartilage, hypertrophic cartilage, and bone. Due to the importance of the columnar organization of these cells and the three dimensional nature of the growth plate, 3D light sheet microscopy (LSM) was used for the first time on mice tibias. Although our LSM imaging was unable to provide more insight into the cartilage structure and organization of growth plates in three dimensions, it further confirmed the presence of bony bridge formation and the reliability of the animal model used.

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