Nanostructure of the neurocentral growth plate: Insight from scanning small angle X-ray scattering, atomic force microscopy and scanning electron microscopy

Mathias Hauge Bünger, Morten Foss, Kurt Erlacher, Mads Bruun Hovgaard, Jacques Chevallier, Bente Langdahl, Cody Bünger, Henrik Birkedal, Flemming Besenbacher, Jan Skov Pedersen

Research output: Contribution to journal/Conference contribution in journal/Contribution to newspaperJournal articleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

In this study, the experimental techniques scanning electron microscopy (SEM) including energy-dispersive X-ray analysis, atomic force microscopy (AFM) and scanning small angle X-ray scattering (SAXS) have been exploited to characterize the organization of large molecules and nanocrystallites in and around the neurocentral growth plate (NGP) of a pig vertebrae L4. The techniques offer unique complementary information on the nano- to micrometer length scale and provide new insight in the changes in the matrix structure during endochondral bone formation. AFM and SEM imaging of the NGP reveal a fibrous network likely to consist of collagen type II and proteoglycans. High-resolution AFM imaging shows that the fibers have a diameter of approximately 100 nm and periodic features along the fibers with a periodicity of 50-70 nm. This is consistent with the SAXS analysis that yields a cross-sectional diameter of the fibers in the range of 90 to 112 nm and a predominant orientation in the longitudinal direction of the NGP. Furthermore, we find inhomogeneities around 7 nm in the NGP by SAXS analysis. Moving towards the bone in the direction perpendicular to the growth plate, a systematic change in apparent thickness is observed, while the large-scale structural features remain constant. In the region of bone, the apparent thickness equals the mean mineral thickness and increases from 2 nm to approximately 3.5 nm as a function distance from the NGP. The mineral particles are organized as plates in a rather compact network structure. We have demonstrated that SEM, AFM and SAXS are valuable tools for the investigation of the organization of large molecules and nanocrystallites in the NGP and adjacent trabecular bone. Our findings will be an important basis for future work into identifying the defects on nanometer length scale responsible for idiopathic scoliosis and other growth-plate-related diseases.
Original languageEnglish
JournalBone
Volume39
Issue3
Pages (from-to)530-41
Number of pages12
ISSN8756-3282
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2006

Keywords

  • Animals
  • Growth Plate
  • Microscopy, Atomic Force
  • Microscopy, Electron, Scanning
  • Nanostructures
  • Neurons
  • Scattering, Radiation
  • Swine
  • X-Rays

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