Advanced microscopy analysis of the micro-nanoscale architecture of human menisci.
Vetri V., Dragnevski K., Tkaczyk M., Zingales M., Marchiori G., Lopomo NF., Zaffagnini S., Bondi A., Kennedy JA., Murray DW., Barrera O.
The complex inhomogeneous architecture of the human meniscal tissue at the micro and nano scale in the absence of artefacts introduced by sample treatments has not yet been fully revealed. The knowledge of the internal structure organization is essential to understand the mechanical functionality of the meniscus and its relationship with the tissue's complex structure. In this work, we investigated human meniscal tissue structure using up-to-date non-invasive imaging techniques, based on multiphoton fluorescence and quantitative second harmonic generation microscopy complemented with Environmental Scanning Electron Microscopy measurements. Observations on 50 meniscal samples extracted from 6 human menisci (3 lateral and 3 medial) revealed fundamental features of structural morphology and allowed us to quantitatively describe the 3D organisation of elastin and collagen fibres bundles. 3D regular waves of collagen bundles are arranged in "honeycomb-like" cells that are comprised of pores surrounded by the collagen and elastin network at the micro-scale. This type of arrangement propagates from macro to the nanoscale.