Development and validation of vertical scanning interferometry as a novel method for acquiring chondrocyte geometry

C. Corey Scott, Andreas Luttge, Kyriacos A. Athanasiou

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Chondrocytes are sensitive to changes in shape which depend on the type of substrate, mechanical factors, or biochemical stimuli. Shape changes can cause metabolic and phenotypic alterations. Cell geometry is also important for mechanical models, determination of mechanical properties, and the study of cell attachment and spreading. In this study, a novel method called vertical scanning interferometry (VSI) was developed to allow rapid and straight-forward determination of the height, diameter, surface area, volume, and curvature of single chondrocytes. The dimensions of single chondrocytes at 4 and 18 h were obtained and validated. Differences in the heights of zonal chondrocytes were found to be statistically significant. This method was also used to capture the geometry of a cell dehydrating as it was exposed to air. VSI has advantages over confocal microscopy and atomic force microscopy in terms of speed, ease of use, field of view, and precision. VSI quickly obtains and graphically represents the three-dimensional geometry of chondrocytes in a simple format. These methods could be expanded to image many types of cells on various biomaterials to assess biocompatibility and attachment and cell spreading characteristics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)83-90
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Biomedical Materials Research - Part A
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • Biocompatibility
  • Cartilage
  • Cell geometry
  • Single cell
  • Vertical scanning interferometry

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Biomaterials


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