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ludc webb

Lena Sundius

Biomedical analyst

ludc webb

Sub-micrometer morphology of human atherosclerotic plaque revealed by synchrotron radiation-based μCT—A comparison with histology


  • My Truong
  • Till Dreier
  • Johan Wasselius
  • Lena Sundius
  • Ana Persson
  • Goran Lovric
  • Anne Bonnin
  • Isabel Gonçalves
  • Martin Bech

Summary, in English

Histology is a long standing and well-established gold standard for pathological characterizations. In recent years however, synchrotron radiation-based micro-computed tomography (SRμCT) has become a tool for extending the imaging of two-dimensional thin sections into three-dimensional imaging of tissue blocks, enabling so-called virtual histology with arbitrary clipping planes, volumetric rendering and automatic segmentation. In this study, we present a thorough characterization of human carotid plaques after endarterectomy of patients with stroke or transient ischemic attack (TIA), investigating several different pathologic structures using both SRμCT and histology. Phase-contrast SRμCT was performed with two different magnifications (voxel sizes 6.5 μm and 0.65 μm, respectively), and histology was performed with multiple different stainings (Alpha-actin, Glycophorin A, von Kossa, Movat, CD68). The 0.65 μm high-resolution SRμCT was performed on selected areas with plaque typical relevant morphology, identified on the 6.5 μm low-resolution SRμCT. The tomography datasets were reconstructed with additional 3D volume rendering and compared to histology. In total, nine different regions with typical pathologic structures were identified and imaged with high-resolution SRμCT. The results show many characteristics typical for advanced atherosclerotic plaques, clinically relevant, namely ruptures with thrombosis, neo-vascularization, inflammatory infiltrates in shoulder regions, lipid rich necrotic cores (LRNC), thin fibrous cap, calcifications, lumen irregularities, and changes in vessel wall structures such as the internal elastic membrane. This method’s non-destructive nature renders details of micro-structures with an excellent visual likeness to histology, with the additional strength of multiplanar and 3D visualization and the possibility of multiple re-scans.


  • Stroke Imaging Research group
  • Medical Radiation Physics, Lund
  • Neuroradiology
  • Cardiovascular Research - Translational Studies
  • EXODIAB: Excellence of Diabetes Research in Sweden
  • EpiHealth: Epidemiology for Health
  • X-ray Phase Contrast

Publishing year












Document type

Journal article


Public Library of Science (PLoS)


  • Medical Image Processing
  • Otorhinolaryngology



Research group

  • Stroke Imaging Research group
  • Neuroradiology
  • Cardiovascular Research - Translational Studies
  • X-ray Phase Contrast


  • ISSN: 1932-6203