Three-dimensional digital reconstruction of skin epidermis and dermis

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Abstract

Summary

This study describes how three-dimensional (3D) human skin tissue is reconstructed, and provides digital anatomical data for the physiological structure of human skin tissue based on large-scale thin serial sections. Human skin samples embedded in paraffin were cut serially into thin sections and then stained with hematoxylin-eosin. Images of serial sections obtained from lighting microscopy were scanned and aligned by the scale-invariant feature transform algorithm. 3D reconstruction of the skin tissue was generated using Mimics software. Fibre content, porosity, average pore diameter and specific surface area of dermis were analysed using the ImageJ analysis system. The root mean square error and mutual information based on the scale-invariant feature transform algorithm registration were significantly greater than those based on the manual registration. Fibre distribution gradually decreased from top to bottom; while porosity showed an opposite trend with irregular average pore diameter distribution. A specific surface area of the dermis showed a ‘V’ shape trend. Our data suggested that 3D reconstruction of human skin tissue based on large-scale serial sections could be a valuable tool for providing a highly accurate histological structure for analysis of skin tissue. Moreover, this technology could be utilized to produce tissue-engineered skin via a 3D bioprinter in the future.

Lay description

This study is to reconstruct three-dimensional (3D) structure of the skin tissue to clarify the physiology of the skin tissue and to provide the anatomical data for 3D bio printer based on large scale serial skin tissue slices. Normal lateral thigh skin tissue were collected and processed to be a serial sections stained with hematoxylin-eosin. Whole serial slides were digitized by scanned lighting microscopy and aligned by the scale-invariant feature transform algorithm. Mimics software were used to generate 3D reconstructions of the skin tissue. Image analysis system was performed to analyse the fibre content, porosity, average pore diameter and specific surface area of skin dermis. The skin tissue was successful reconstructed based on large scale serial skin tissue sections. The RMSE and MI based on the scale-invariant feature transform algorithm registration is significantly greater than that based on the manual registration. Fibre distribution from top to bottom was gradually decreased. Porosity from top to bottom showing an increasing trend, and average pore diameter distribution of no obvious regularity. What is more, the specific surface area of dermis showed ‘V’ shape trend. The 3D reconstruct based on large scale serial sections will provide a valuable tool for high-accuracy 3D structure of skin tissue that was utilized to produce high bionic tissue engineering skin models.

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