Cillero-Pastor, B., Streli, C., & Turyanskaya, A. (2023). Chemical Imaging in Bone and Cartilage Regeneration. In A. Walter, P. Slezak, & R. Mueller (Eds.), Bioimaging in Tissue Engineering and Regeneration (pp. 1–19). Springer. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-85569-7_14-1
Musculoskeletal pathologies such as osteoarthritis are characterized by cartilage degradation, bone remodeling, and joint inflammation. Impairment of cartilage regeneration has also been associated with a defective chondrogenic differentiation of mesenchymal stromal cells to chondrocyte cells during ageing. Understanding the molecular changes associated with this lack of differentiation can provide insight into alternative treatments. Several methods provide information on key molecular mechanisms related to pathological process. More specifically, strategies capable of unraveling key cell-extracellular interactions or intercellular communication while keeping the spatial information are of great importance since the local environment can play a crucial role defining cell fate. Molecular imaging techniques such as matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization mass spectrometry imaging can investigate local metabolic changes associated to tissues such as cartilage and bone in pathological conditions. Other methods such as micro-Xray fluorescence spectrometry allow the determination of element distribution for the investigation of tissue composition. This chapter describes the application of two molecular imaging techniques, matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization mass spectrometry imaging, and micro-X-ray fluorescence spectrometry to study molecular changes associated with cartilage regeneration and to identify elemental constituents of implants, bone, and cartilage. Relevant information on the workflow, advantages, and disadvantages are covered in this chapter.