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Organ and tissue level properties are more sensitive to age than osteocyte lacunar characteristics in rat cortical bone

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Modeling and remodeling induce significant changes of bone structure and mechanical properties with age. Therefore, it is important to gain knowledge of the processes taking place in bone over time. The rat is a widely used animal model, where much data has been accumulated on age-related changes of bone on the organ and tissue level, whereas features on the nano- and micrometer scale are much less explored. We investigated the age-related development of organ and tissue level bone properties such as bone volume, bone mineral density, and load to fracture and correlated these with osteocyte lacunar properties in rat cortical bone. Femora of 14 to 42-week-old female Wistar rats were investigated using multiple complementary techniques including X-ray micro-computed tomography and biomechanical testing. The body weight, femoral length, aBMD, load to fracture, tissue volume, bone volume, and tissue density were found to increase rapidly with age at 14–30 weeks. At the age of 30–42 weeks, the growth rate appeared to decrease. However, no accompanying changes were found in osteocyte lacunar properties such as lacunar volume, ellipsoidal radii, lacunar stretch, lacunar oblateness, or lacunar orientation with animal age. Hence, the evolution of organ and tissue level properties with age in rat cortical bone is not accompanied by related changes in osteocyte lacunar properties. This suggests that bone microstructure and bone matrix material properties and not the geometric properties of the osteocyte lacunar network are main determinants of the properties of the bone on larger length scales.
Original languageEnglish
JournalBone Reports
Pages (from-to)28-34
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - 2016

    Research areas

  • Aging, Cortical bone, Mechanical properties, Mineral density, Osteocytes, Synchrotron μCT

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