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Bone. 2003 Sep;33(3):270-82.

TEM analysis of the nanostructure of normal and osteoporotic human trabecular bone.

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The GWW School of Mechanical Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA 30332-0405, USA.


Transmission electron microscopy (TEM) was used to investigate the crystal-collagen interactions in normal and osteoporotic human trabecular bone at the nanostructural level. More specifically, two-dimensional TEM observations were used to infer the three-dimensional information on the shape, the size, the orientation, and the alignment of apatite crystals in collagen fibrils in normal and osteoporotic bone. We found that crystals were of platelet shape with irregular edges and that there was no substantial difference in crystal length or crystal thickness between normal and osteoporotic trabecular bone. The crystal arrangement in cross-sectioned fibrils did not neatly conform to the parallel arrangement of crystals seen in longitudinally-sectioned fibrils. Instead, the crystal arrangement in both normal and osteoporotic trabecular bone took on more of a random, undulated arrangement, with certain localized areas demonstrating circular oriented patterns. The TEM imaging was done using bright fields only. Thus, the results presented are within the limitations of this approach.

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