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Bone. 2012 Mar;50(3):688-94. doi: 10.1016/j.bone.2011.11.021. Epub 2011 Dec 7.

Increased proportion of hypermineralized osteocyte lacunae in osteoporotic and osteoarthritic human trabecular bone: implications for bone remodeling.

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  • 1Bone and Joint Research Laboratory, Surgical Pathology, SA Pathology and Hanson Institute, Adelaide, Australia.


Hypermineralized osteocyte lacunae (micropetrosis) have received little research attention. While they are a known aspect of the aging human skeleton, no data are available for pathological bone. In this study, intertrochanteric trabecular bone cores were obtained from patients at surgery for osteoporotic (OP) femoral neck fracture (10F, 4M, 65-94 years), for hip osteoarthritis (OA; 7F, 8M, 62-87 years), and femora at autopsy (CTL; 5F, 11M, 60-84 years). Vertebral trabecular bone cores were also obtained from the vertebra of autopsy cases (CVB; 3F, 6M, 53-83 years). Specimens were resin-embedded, polished, and carbon coated for quantitative backscattered electron imaging (qBEI), energy dispersive X-ray (EDX) spectrometry, and imaging analysis. Bone mineralization (Wt %Ca) was not different between OP, OA, and CTL; but was greater in femoral CTL than in CVB. The percent of hypermineralized osteocyte lacunae relative to the total number (HL/TL) was greater in OP and OA than in CTL. However, relative to bone mineral area, OP was characterised by increased hypermineralized osteocyte lacunar number density (Hd.Lc.Dn), whereas OA was characterised by decreased osteocyte lacunar number density (Lc.Dn) and total osteocyte lacunar number density (Tt.Lc.Dn). Lc.Dn was higher in CVB than in femoral CTL. The calcium-phosphorus ratio (R(Ca/P)) was not different between hypermineralized osteocyte lacunae and bone matrix in each group. In addition, this study focused on the phenomenon of osteocyte lacunae hypermineralization using qBEI. Seven morphological types of osteocyte lacunae hypermineralization were described according to the presence of one or several hypermineralized spherites, associated or not with a hypermineralized lacunar ring. This study has described, for the first time, the morphology of hypermineralized osteocyte lacunae in OP and OA human bone. Further studies are suggested to investigate the functional influence of hypermineralized osteocyte lacunae on bone remodeling and bone biomechanical properties.

Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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