A new fractal feature, the Directional Fractal Curve (DFC), defined over an arc of 180° and composed of 90 fractal dimensions determined at intervals of arc of 2°, is developed to account for the anisotropic property of a fractal texture. The DFC algorithm is first applied to two images with different textural patterns one without directional preference and one with a well-organised texture. The DFC of these images shows different patterns. The technique is then applied to quantify the structure of the elastic texture in the arterial wall where the elastic network was imaged by scanning electron microscopy following selective tissue digestion. The results suggest: (i) that images of the elastin matrix of the arterial wall exhibit fractal properties with directional preference, (ii) the DFC gives quantitative parameters which allow characterisation of structural changes in the elastin matrix of the arterial wall in terms of disorganisation and fragmentation of elastin fibres-conditions which are associated with medial degeneration due to normal ageing or presence of arterial disease.
- 2-dimensional Fourier spectrum
- Anisotropic fractal
- Arterial wall
- Elastin texture