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J Synchrotron Radiat. 2011 Nov;18(Pt 6):912-8. doi: 10.1107/S0909049511032651. Epub 2011 Sep 16.

The status of strontium in biological apatites: an XANES investigation.

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Laboratoire de Physique des Solides, Bâtiment 510, Université Paris XI, 91405 Orsay, France.


Osteoporosis represents a major public health problem and increases patient morbidity through its association with fragility fractures. Among the different treatments proposed, strontium-based drugs have been shown to increase bone mass in postmenopausal osteoporosis patients and to reduce fracture risk. While the localization of Sr(2+) cations in the bone matrix has been extensively studied, little is known regarding the status of Sr(2+) cations in natural biological apatite. In this investigation the local environment of Sr(2+) cations has been investigated through XANES (X-ray absorption near-edge structure) spectroscopy in a set of pathological and physiological apatites. To assess the localization of Sr(2+) cations in these biological apatites, numerical simulations using the ab initio FEFF9 X-ray spectroscopy program have been performed. The complete set of data show that the XANES part of the absorption spectra may be used as a fingerprint to determine the localization of Sr(2+) cations versus the mineral part of calcifications. More precisely, it appears that a relationship exists between some features present in the XANES part and a Sr(2+)/Ca(2+) substitution process in site (I) of crystal apatite. Regarding the data, further experiments are needed to confirm a possible link between the relationship between the preparation mode of the calcification (cellular activity for physiological calcification and precipitation for the pathological one) and the adsorption mode of Sr(2+) cations (simple adsorption or insertion). Is it possible to draw a line between life and chemistry through the localization of Sr in apatite? The question is open for discussion. A better structural description of these physiological and pathological calcifications will help to develop specific therapies targeting the demineralization process in the case of osteoporosis.

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