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Contrast-Enhanced Computed Tomography for Virtual 3D Histology of Biological Tissues

Call for Papers

Histology is a highly valuable tool that contributes considerably to a better understanding of the normal and pathological processes in development and disease. However, biological tissues are 3D structures with a complex spatial heterogeneity, and therefore traditional 2D imaging techniques such as standard histomorphometry are often insufficient to comprehensively characterize their 3D morphology or to determine the spatial interrelationship with other tissues. Consequently, advanced 3D imaging techniques, like X-ray micro- and nanofocus computed tomography (micro- and nano-CT), are of increasing importance in the biomedical field to assess tissue structure and composition and to provide better knowledge on the processes in tissue development, trauma, and disease.

Micro- and nano-CT are nowadays standard techniques for 3D quantitative imaging of mineralized tissues. This technology can also be extended towards soft tissue visualization but then requires the administration of a contrast agent (i.e., contrast-enhanced micro-CT (CE-CT)) when phase contrast imaging is not available. Because of the 3D quantitative character of CE-CT, it can provide additional data to standard histomorphometry, with more spatial information, and thus will offer novel insights into the complex mechanisms of normal tissue development and pathologies. Furthermore, the compatibility of CE-CT with histomorphometry helps in defining regions of interest in histology. Several challenges, however, remain for CE-CT in terms of (i) the development of noninvasive (potentially in vivo) and/or tissue-specific contrast agents and their validation, (ii) the optimization of the staining protocols for different applications, and (iii) the interpretation as well as analysis of the multitissue datasets.

This special issue focusses on the latest developments regarding the use of CE-CT for virtual 3D histology of biological tissues. We therefore encourage submissions on the application of CE-CT for different biological tissues (human or animal) and organs/systems to improve the understanding of the 3D tissue structure and/or composition or the spatial interrelationships between different tissues. We also warmly welcome contributions on the development, optimization, and validation of novel contrast agents, as well as on advanced image processing and analysis methodologies for a better interpretation and quantification of the multitissue datasets.

Potential topics include but are not limited to the following:

  • Development of novel contrast agents for CE-CT
  • Optimization of CE-CT staining protocols
  • Application of CE-CT to different biological tissues and organs (healthy and diseased)
    • Cartilage
    • Adipose tissue
    • Vascular network
    • Nervous tissue
    • Interfaces: bone-tendon, bone-ligament, and so forth
    • Multitissue organs: liver, heart, lung, kidney, and so forth
  • Development of novel image processing and analysis methodologies

Authors can submit their manuscripts through the Manuscript Tracking System at

Submission DeadlineFriday, 5 October 2018
Publication DateFebruary 2019

Papers are published upon acceptance, regardless of the Special Issue publication date.

Lead Guest Editor

Guest Editors

  • Phil Salmon, Bruker MicroCT, Kontich, Belgium
  • Heinz Redl, Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Experimental and Clinical Traumatology, Vienna, Austria