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Concept: Long bone


Because of its close relationship to tetrapods, Eusthenopteron is an important taxon for understanding the establishment of the tetrapod body plan. Notably, it is one of the earliest sarcopterygians in which the humerus of the pectoral fin skeleton is preserved. The microanatomical and histological organization of this humerus provides important data for understanding the evolutionary steps that built up the distinctive architecture of tetrapod limb bones. Previous histological studies showed that Eusthenopteron’s long-bone organization was established through typical tetrapod ossification modalities. Based on a three-dimensional reconstruction of the inner microstructure of Eusthenopteron’s humerus, obtained from propagation phase-contrast X-ray synchrotron microtomography, we are now able to show that, despite ossification mechanisms and growth patterns similar to those of tetrapods, it also retains plesiomorphic characters such as a large medullary cavity, partly resulting from the perichondral ossification around a large cartilaginous bud as in actinopterygians. It also exhibits a distinctive tubular organization of bone-marrow processes. The connection between these processes and epiphyseal structures highlights their close functional relationship, suggesting that either bone marrow played a crucial role in the long-bone elongation processes or that trabecular bone resulting from the erosion of hypertrophied cartilage created a microenvironment for haematopoietic stem cell niches.

Concepts: Ichthyostega, Bird, Long bone, Cartilage, Tetrapod, Skeletal system, Bone marrow, Bone


HT042, a new herbal prescription consisting of Astragalus membranaceus, Phlomis umbrosa and Eleutherococcus senticosus, is used in traditional Korean medicine to stimulate growth in children. This study was conducted to investigate the effects of HT042 on skeletal growth, insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) and insulin-like growth factor binding protein-3 (IGFBP-3) levels, and oestrogenic activity in female rats. Female Sprague-Dawley rats were divided into control, recombinant human growth hormone (rhGH; 20 µg/kg/day), and HT042 (100 mg/kg/day) groups and treated for 3 weeks. Axial skeletal growth, femur length, and growth plate length were measured every 3 weeks. The serum IGF-1 and IGFBP-3 levels were analysed. Moreover, the oestrogenic activity of the herbal extracts in the immature and ovariectomized rats was tested. The nose-anus, nose-tail, femur and growth-plate lengths were increased significantly in the HT042 group. Both IGF-1 and IGFBP-3 were highly expressed in the hypertrophic zone of the growth plate. The serum IGF-1 levels were increased. Moreover, HT042 had no uterotrophic effects in the rats. Consequently, HT042 promoted longitudinal bone growth by stimulating cell proliferation in the epiphyseal plate and inducing the expression of IGF-1 without an oestrogenic response. HT042 may be helpful in stimulating growth in children with short stature. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Concepts: Growth factors, Idiopathic short stature, Long bone, Immune system, Endochondral ossification, Insulin-like growth factor, Growth hormone, Insulin-like growth factor 1


Chondrodystrophy in dogs is defined by dysplastic, shortened long bones and premature degeneration and calcification of intervertebral discs. Independent genome-wide association analyses for skeletal dysplasia (short limbs) within a single breed (PBonferroni = 0.01) and intervertebral disc disease (IVDD) across breeds (PBonferroni = 4.0 × 10(-10)) both identified a significant association to the same region on CFA12. Whole genome sequencing identified a highly expressed FGF4 retrogene within this shared region. The FGF4 retrogene segregated with limb length and had an odds ratio of 51.23 (95% CI = 46.69, 56.20) for IVDD. Long bone length in dogs is a unique example of multiple disease-causing retrocopies of the same parental gene in a mammalian species. FGF signaling abnormalities have been associated with skeletal dysplasia in humans, and our findings present opportunities for both selective elimination of a medically and financially devastating disease in dogs and further understanding of the ever-growing complexity of retrogene biology.

Concepts: Cancer, Biotechnology, Long bone, Bone, Intervertebral disc, Skeletal system, DNA, Medicine


Regulation of organ growth is a poorly understood process. In the long bones, the growth plates (GPs) drive elongation by generating a scaffold progressively replaced by bone. Although studies have focused on intrinsic GP regulation, classic and recent experiments suggest that local signals also modulate GP function. We devised a genetic mouse model to study extrinsic long bone growth modulation, in which injury is specifically induced in the left hindlimb, such that the right hindlimb serves as an internal control. Remarkably, when only mesenchyme cells surrounding postnatal GPs were killed, left bone growth was nevertheless reduced. GP signaling was impaired by altered paracrine signals from the knee joint, including activation of the injury response and, in neonates, dampened IGF1 production. Importantly, only the combined prevention of both responses rescued neonatal growth. Thus, we identified signals from the knee joint that modulate bone growth and could underlie establishment of body proportions.

Concepts: Epiphyseal plate, Knee, Intramembranous ossification, Bone marrow, Bone, Long bone, Joint, Cartilage


One of the major challenges that developing organs face is scaling, that is, the adjustment of physical proportions during the massive increase in size. Although organ scaling is fundamental for development and function, little is known about the mechanisms that regulate it. Bone superstructures are projections that typically serve for tendon and ligament insertion or articulation and, therefore, their position along the bone is crucial for musculoskeletal functionality. As bones are rigid structures that elongate only from their ends, it is unclear how superstructure positions are regulated during growth to end up in the right locations. Here, we document the process of longitudinal scaling in developing mouse long bones and uncover the mechanism that regulates it. To that end, we performed a computational analysis of hundreds of three-dimensional micro-CT images, using a newly developed method for recovering the morphogenetic sequence of developing bones. Strikingly, analysis revealed that the relative position of all superstructures along the bone is highly preserved during more than a 5-fold increase in length, indicating isometric scaling. It has been suggested that during development, bone superstructures are continuously reconstructed and relocated along the shaft, a process known as drift. Surprisingly, our results showed that most superstructures did not drift at all. Instead, we identified a novel mechanism for bone scaling, whereby each bone exhibits a specific and unique balance between proximal and distal growth rates, which accurately maintains the relative position of its superstructures. Moreover, we show mathematically that this mechanism minimizes the cumulative drift of all superstructures, thereby optimizing the scaling process. Our study reveals a general mechanism for the scaling of developing bones. More broadly, these findings suggest an evolutionary mechanism that facilitates variability in bone morphology by controlling the activity of individual epiphyseal plates.

Concepts: Biomechanics, Anatomy, Epiphysis, Long bone, Epiphyseal plate, Organ, Bone, Ligament


One of the roles of a forensic anthropologist is to assist medico-legal investigations in the identification of human skeletal remains. In some instances, only small fragments of bone may be present. In this study, a non-destructive novel technique is presented to distinguish between human and non-human long bones. This technique is based on the macroscopic and computed tomography (CT) analysis of nutrient foramina. The nutrient foramen of long bone diaphyses transmits the nutrient artery which provides much of the oxygen and nutrients to the bone. The nutrient foramen and its canal were analysed in six femora and humeri of human, sheep (Ovies aries) and pig (Sus scrofa) species. The location, position and direction of the nutrient foramina were measured macroscopically. The length of the canal, angle of the canal, circumference and area of the entrance of the foramen were measured from CT images. Macroscopic analysis revealed the femora nutrient foramina are more proximal, whereas humeri foramina are more distal. The human bones and sheep humerus conform to the perceived directionality, but the pig bones and sheep femur do not. Amongst the parameters measured in the CT analysis, the angle of the canal had a discriminatory power. This study shows the potential of this technique to be used independently or complementary to other methods in distinguishing between human and non-human bone in forensic anthropology.

Concepts: Pig, Long bone, Skeletal system, Femur, Bone, Bone marrow


Radial nerve palsy associated with fractures of the shaft of the humerus is the most common nerve lesion complicating fractures of long bones. However, the management of radial nerve injuries associated with humeral fractures is debatable. There was no consensus between observation and early exploration.

Concepts: Long bones, Planning, Long bone, Plan, Radial neuropathy, Humerus, Ulnar nerve, Brachioradialis


Erdheim Chester disease represents a clonal systemic proliferation of histiocytes. Bone is the most common site of involvement, although virtually any organ, including lungs, can be affected. The diagnosis of Erdheim Chester disease can be difficult due to its rarity and protean presentation. The correlation between clinical, radiological and histological findings is mandatory for the identification of the disease. Foamy histiocytes, lacking Langerhans cells markers, represent the typical histological findings, although their absence does not rule out Erdheim Chester disease. Identification of BRAF mutation can be helpful in making the diagnosis and allows for the development and application of targeted therapies in this setting. Herein we describe 2 cases presenting with lung involvement and vertebral lesions, lacking the more typical long bone involvement. One case histologically mimicked a Rosai Dorfman disease. However both cases harbored the pathognomonic BRAFV600E mutation. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

Concepts: Pneumonia, Anatomy, Long bone, All rights reserved, Copyright, Medicine, Heart, Cancer


We present a case report of a 10-year-old girl diagnosed with Ewing sarcoma treated with intra-articular wide resection of the right femur and reconstruction with a series-connected double-barrel bilateral vascularized fibula graft (db-BVFG), including fibular head for articulation with the acetabulum of the pelvic bone and preservation of the epiphyseal growth plates for eventual limb growth. No postoperative complications were observed and bone union was achieved with fibular graft hypertrophy, allowing for full weight bearing. Neither local recurrence nor metastasis was observed at 17-year follow-up. Range of motion degrees at last follow up: hip flexion 90 degree, extension 12 degree, abduction 31 degree, rotation 25 degree. Right versus left limb discrepancy was 60 mm. Db-BVFG may be an option for reconstruction of long femoral defects and hip joint restoration following tumor resection and inclusion of epiphysis within the graft is a viable option in pediatric patients to restore longitudinal growth of the reconstructed long bone.

Concepts: Pelvis, Hip, Long bone, Epiphyseal plate, Epiphysis


Chondroblastoma is a rare benign cartilaginous tumor, which primarily occurs in children and adolescents. Chondroblastoma commonly originates in the epiphyseal plate of long bones. An aggressive curettage treatment is recommended to manage lesion, which may jeopardize an open epiphyseal plate and result in limb shortening and deformity as the limb grows and develops. The purpose is to observe surgical effects of chondroblastoma on open epiphyseal plate of long bones in children and adolescents and explore influences on limb growth and development.

Concepts: Benign tumor, Bone, Epiphysis, Long bone, Epiphyseal plate