Human bone is a specialized tissue with unique material properties, providing mechanical support and resistance to the skeleton and simultaneously assuring capability of adaptation and remodelling. Knowing the properties of such a structure down to the micro-scale is of utmost importance, not only for the design of effective biomimetic materials but also to be able to detect pathological alterations in material properties, such as micro-fractures or abnormal tissue remodelling. The Brillouin and Raman micro-spectroscopic (BRmS) approach has the potential to become a first-choice technique, as it is capable of simultaneously investigating samples' mechanical and structural properties in a non-destructive and label-free way. Here, we perform a mapping of cortical and trabecular bone sections of a femoral epiphysis, demonstrating the capability of the technique for discovering the morpho-mechanics of cells, the extracellular matrix, and marrow constituents. Moreover, the interpretation of Brillouin and Raman spectra merged with an approach of data mining is used to compare the mechanical alterations in specimens excised from distinct anatomical areas and subjected to different sample processing. The results disclose in both cases specific alterations in the morphology and/or in the tissue chemical make-up, which strongly affects bone mechanical properties, providing a method potentially extendable to other important biomedical issues.
- Brillouin spectroscopy
- Raman spectroscopy
- bone material characterization
- bone micro-scale architecture