Osteoarthritis (OA) is a degenerative joint disease that is a leading cause of adult pain and disability in Western countries1. Clinically, several structural features of the joint are important in diagnosis, prognosis and evaluation of treatment efficacy, e.g. cartilage volume, homogeneity and joint space narrowing2,3. In animal models of OA, structural features such as bone defects and cartilage changes are commonly investigated using histomorphometry, a technique that uses stereological point counting and manual tracing of regions of interest to extract 3-dimensional (3D) geometrical properties from 2D histology slides. This is time-consuming and subject to inter-observer variations, hence limiting precision 4,5. Therefore, a technique for rapidly imaging joint structures in 3D at high resolution, including articular cartilage and subchondral bone, is currently needed in pre-clinical OA research.

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