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Concept: Cortical bone


Vertebral fractures and trabecular bone loss have dominated thinking and research into the pathogenesis and the structural basis of bone fragility during the last 70 years. However, 80% of all fractures are non-vertebral and occur at regions assembled using large amounts of cortical bone; only 20% of fractures are vertebral. Moreover, ~80% of the skeleton is cortical and ~70% of all bone loss is cortical even though trabecular bone is lost more rapidly than cortical bone. Bone is lost because remodelling becomes unbalanced after midlife. Most cortical bone loss occurs by intracortical, not endocortical remodelling. Each remodelling event removes more bone than deposited enlarging existing canals which eventually coalesce eroding and thinning the cortex from ‘within.’ Thus, there is a need to study the decay of cortical as well as trabecular bone, and to develop drugs that restore the strength of both types of bone. It is now possible to accurately quantify cortical porosity and trabecular decay in vivo. The challenges still to be met are to determine whether measurement of porosity identifies persons at risk for fracture, whether this approach is compliments information obtained using bone densitometry, and whether changes in cortical porosity and other microstructural traits have the sensitivity to serve as surrogates of treatment success or failure.

Concepts: Osteoporosis, Bone, Bone fracture, Fracture, Skeletal system, Osseous tissue, Cortical bone, Cancellous bone


The invention and development of next or second generation sequencing methods has resulted in a dramatic transformation of ancient DNA research and allowed shotgun sequencing of entire genomes from fossil specimens. However, although there are exceptions, most fossil specimens contain only low (~ 1% or less) percentages of endogenous DNA. The only skeletal element for which a systematically higher endogenous DNA content compared to other skeletal elements has been shown is the petrous part of the temporal bone. In this study we investigate whether (a) different parts of the petrous bone of archaeological human specimens give different percentages of endogenous DNA yields, (b) there are significant differences in average DNA read lengths, damage patterns and total DNA concentration, and © it is possible to obtain endogenous ancient DNA from petrous bones from hot environments. We carried out intra-petrous comparisons for ten petrous bones from specimens from Holocene archaeological contexts across Eurasia dated between 10,000-1,800 calibrated years before present (cal. BP). We obtained shotgun DNA sequences from three distinct areas within the petrous: a spongy part of trabecular bone (part A), the dense part of cortical bone encircling the osseous inner ear, or otic capsule (part B), and the dense part within the otic capsule (part C). Our results confirm that dense bone parts of the petrous bone can provide high endogenous aDNA yields and indicate that endogenous DNA fractions for part C can exceed those obtained for part B by up to 65-fold and those from part A by up to 177-fold, while total endogenous DNA concentrations are up to 126-fold and 109-fold higher for these comparisons. Our results also show that while endogenous yields from part C were lower than 1% for samples from hot (both arid and humid) parts, the DNA damage patterns indicate that at least some of the reads originate from ancient DNA molecules, potentially enabling ancient DNA analyses of samples from hot regions that are otherwise not amenable to ancient DNA analyses.

Concepts: DNA, Bone, Molecular biology, Human Genome Project, Skeletal system, Skull, Osseous tissue, Cortical bone


Bone fragility depends on its post-yield behavior since most energy dissipation in bone occurs during the post-yield deformation. Previous studies have investigated the progressive changes in the post-yield behavior of human cortical bone in tension and compression using a novel progressive loading scheme. However, little is known regarding the progressive changes in the post-yield behavior of bone in shear. The objective of this short study was to address this issue by testing bone specimens in an inclined double notch shear configuration using the progressive loading protocol. The results of this study indicated that the shear modulus of bone decreased with respect to the applied strain, and the rate of degradation was about 50% less than those previously observed in compression and tension tests. In addition, a quasi-linear relationship between the plastic and applied strains was observed in shear mode, which is similar to those previously reported in tension and compression tests. However, the viscous responses of bone (i.e. relaxation time constants and stress magnitude) demonstrated slight differences in shear compared with those observed in tension and compression tests. Nonetheless, the results of this study suggest that the intrinsic mechanism of plastic deformation of human cortical bone may be independent of loading modes.

Concepts: Continuum mechanics, Cortical bone, Shear stress, Fluid, Young's modulus, Elasticity, Solid mechanics, Shear strain


Vascularization is a prerequisite for osteogenesis in a number of situations, including bone development, fracture healing, and cortical bone remodeling. It is unknown whether a similar link exists between cancellous bone remodeling and vascularization. Here, we show an association between remodeling sites, capillaries, proliferative cells and putative osteoblast progenitors. Iliac crest biopsies from normal human individuals were subjected to histomorphometry and immunohistochemistry to identify the respective positions of bone remodeling sites, CD34-positive capillaries, smooth muscle actin (SMA)-positive putative osteoblast progenitors, including pericytes, Ki67-positive proliferative cells, and bone remodeling compartment (BRC) canopies. The BRC canopy is a recently described structure separating remodeling sites from the bone marrow, consisting of CD56-positive osteoblasts at an early differentiation stage. We found that bone remodeling sites were associated with a significantly increased presence of capillaries, putative osteoblast progenitors and proliferative cells in a region within 50 µm of the bone or the canopy surface. The increases were the highest above eroded surfaces and at the level of the light-microscopically assessed contact of these three entities with the bone or canopy surfaces. Between 51 and 100 µm, their densities leveled to that found above quiescent surfaces. Electron microscopy asserted the close proximity between BRC canopies and capillaries lined by pericytes. Furthermore, the BRC canopy cells were found to express SMA. These ordered distributions support the existence of an osteogenic-vascular interface in adult human cancellous bone. The organization of this interface fits the current knowledge on the mode of action of vasculature on osteogenesis, and points to the BRC canopy as a central player in this mechanism. We propose a model where initiation of bone remodeling coincides with the induction of proximity of the vasculature to endosteal surfaces, thereby allowing capillary-BRC canopy interactions that activate marrow events, including recruitment of osteoblast progenitors to bone remodeling sites. © 2012 American Society for Bone and Mineral Research.

Concepts: Bone, Bone marrow, Skeletal system, Smooth muscle, Osseous tissue, Cortical bone, Intramembranous ossification, Osteoblast


The wedges of the mid-diaphyseal osteotomies carried out to correct the femoral and/or tibial native deformity in type III osteogenesis imperfecta (OI III) were used to study the remodeling patterns and lamellar organization at the level of the major deformity. Histology and scanning electron microscopy (SEM) morphology showed abnormal cortical remodeling characterized by the failure to form a cylinder of compact bone with a regular marrow canal. Atypical, flattened, and large resorption lacunae with a wide resorption front on one side and systems of parallel lamellae on the opposite side were observed, resembling those formerly reported as drifting osteons. SEM morphometry documented a higher percentage of nonossified vascular/resorption area (44.3 %) in OI than in controls (13.6 %), a lower density of secondary osteons, and lower values for the parameters expressing the individual osteon size. The mean osteon total area, the mean central canal area, and the mean osteon bone area of two selected, randomized populations of secondary osteons were significantly higher (p < 0.001, p = 0.028, and p < 0.001, respectively) in control bones than in OI. The mean ossified matrix area was not significantly different, but the mean secondary osteon number and mean density were higher in controls (both p < 0.001). Osteon wedges were carried out to correct the native deformity of OI III and morphologic analysis suggested that the abnormal remodeling pattern (with "drifting osteons") may result from the altered load and tensile stresses on the deformed tubular bones.

Concepts: Electron microscope, Bone, Bone marrow, Skeletal system, Osseous tissue, Cortical bone, Scanning electron microscope, Osteogenesis imperfecta


Abstract Objective. To describe the histological features of bone tissue harvested from patients affected by jaw osteonecrosis associated with bisphoshponates (BONJ) or with radiotherapy (ORN), in undecalcified ground sections. Materials and methods. Sixteen bone tissue samples from 14 patients with BONJ and two patients with ORN were processed in order to obtain both ground, undecalcified sections and decalcified sections. The sections underwent histometric and morphometric analysis. Results. Bone tissue samples obtained from patients with BONJ or ORN of the jaws shared some histological characteristics. Common histological features included the loss of bone architecture, the absence of a proper Haversian system and proper marrow spaces, the presence of necrotic spots of non-mineralized tissue, areas of empty osteocytic lacunae next to areas of hypercellularity, the presence of resorption pits with rare osteoclast-like cells and the presence of bacteria and of an inflammatory infiltrate. A violet rib of tissue characterized by large resorption pits facing was frequently observed between the mineralized bone and the inflammatory infiltrate. Conclusions. The histological features of BONJ and ORN are similar and resemble those of osteomyelitis. Even though it is not clear whether infection is the cause or consequence of bone exposure, inflammatory cells, bacteria or their products may have a massive, direct lytic effect on bone tissue challenged by bisphosphonates.

Concepts: Inflammation, Bone, Histology, Osseous tissue, Cortical bone, Osteonecrosis of the jaw, Kanye West, Osteon


Anisotropy is one of the most peculiar aspects of cortical bone mechanics; however, its anisotropic mechanical behaviour should be treated only with strict relationship to the length scale of investigation. In this study, we focus on quantifying the orientation and size dependence of the spatial mechanical modulation in individual secondary osteons of bovine cortical bone using nanoindentation. Tests were performed on the same osteonal structure in the axial (along the long bone axis) and transverse (normal to the long bone axis) directions along arrays going radially out from the Haversian canal at four different maximum depths on three secondary osteons. Results clearly show a periodic pattern of stiffness with spatial distance across the osteon. The effect of length scale on lamellar bone anisotropy and the critical length at which homogenization of the mechanical properties occurs were determined. Further, a laminate-composite-based analytical model was applied to the stiffness trends obtained at the highest spatial resolution to evaluate the elastic constants for a sub-layer of mineralized collagen fibrils within an osteonal lamella on the basis of the spatial arrangement of the fibrils. The hierarchical arrangement of lamellar bone is found to be a major determinant for modulation of mechanical properties and anisotropic mechanical behaviour of the tissue.

Concepts: Bone, Collagen, Skeletal system, Osseous tissue, Cortical bone, Young's modulus, Osteon, Haversian canal


PURPOSE: Though anti-infectives have been used for a long time in surgical procedures, the effect on bone tissue has not been determined for most antibiotics and antiseptics. METHODS: In our in vitro study, 4x4x8 mm(3) blocks of rabbit cancellous bone tissue were incubated with Ringer’s solution, gentamicin and Lavasorb® each for time intervals of 15 minutes, 30 minutes, one hour, four hours and eight hours. Samples were examined double blinded through optical and electron microscopy. RESULTS: Tissue degeneration was observed in all samples. It was low in Ringer’s solution. Samples with Lavasorb showed a moderate degeneration after 15 and 30 minutes, which was accelerated after one hour. Gentamicin led to a moderate degeneration of bone tissue after 15 and 30 minutes and to a more accelerated degeneration after one hour. The effect of gentamicin on bone tissue was more pronounced than the effect of Lavasorb. CONCLUSIONS: This investigation showed that local application of Lavasorb or gentamicin on bone tissue should be restricted to 30 minutes, while Lavasorb showed a better tissue tolerability. This finding could have clinical implications for the management of wounds with open osseous tissue and should be further investigated by in vivo studies.

Concepts: Bone, Skeletal system, In vivo, In vitro, Osseous tissue, Cortical bone, Cancellous bone, Periosteum


This study evaluated the effect of 2 different thread designs on secondary stability (micromotion) and osseointegration rate in dense and cancellous bones.

Concepts: Osteoporosis, Bone, Density, Skeletal system, Anatomy, Biomechanics, Osseous tissue, Cortical bone


Palaeobatrachidae are extinct frogs from Europe closely related to the Gondwanan Pipidae, which includes Xenopus. Their frontoparietal is a distinctive skeletal element which has served as a basis for establishing the genus Albionbatrachus. Because little was known about developmental and individual variation of the frontoparietal, and its usefulness in delimiting genera and species has sometimes been doubted, we investigate its structure in Palaeobatrachus and Albionbatrachus by means of X-ray high resolution computer tomography (micro-CT). To infer the scope of variation present in the fossil specimens, we also examined developmental and interspecific variation in extant Xenopus. In adults of extinct taxa, the internal structure of the frontoparietal bone consists of a superficial and a basal layer of compact bone, with a middle layer of cancellous bone between them, much as in early amphibians. In Albionbatrachus, the layer of cancellous bone, consisting of small and large cavities, was connected with the dorsal, sculptured surface of the bone by a system of narrow canals; in Palaeobatrachus, the layer of cancellous bone and the canals connecting this layer with the dorsal surface of the frontoparietal were reduced. The situation in Palaeobatrachus robustus from the lower Miocene of France is intermediate - while external features support assignment to Palaeobatrachus, the inner structure is similar to that in Albionbatrachus. It may be hypothesized that sculptured frontoparietals with a well-developed layer of cancellous (i.e., vascularized) bone may indicate adaptation to a more terrestrial way of life, whereas a reduced cancellous layer might indicate a permanent water dweller. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

Concepts: Skeletal system, Skull, Osseous tissue, Cortical bone, Copyright, Amphibian, Frog, Cancellous bone