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J Anat. 2017 Nov;231(5):708-717. doi: 10.1111/joa.12670. Epub 2017 Aug 7.

Histomorphometric and osteocytic characteristics of cortical bone in male subtrochanteric femoral shaft.

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Kuopio Musculoskeletal Research Unit (KMRU), Institute of Clinical Medicine, University of Eastern Finland, Kuopio, Finland.
Department of Applied Physics, University of Eastern Finland, Kuopio, Finland.
Diagnostic Imaging Centre, Kuopio University Hospital, Kuopio, Finland.
Department of Biomedical Engineering, Department of Orthopaedics, Lund University, Lund, Sweden.
Department of Orthopaedics, Traumatology, and Hand Surgery, Kuopio University Hospital, Kuopio, Finland.


The histomorphometric properties of the subtrochanteric femoral region have rarely been investigated. The aim of this study was to investigate the age-associated variations and regional differences of histomorphometric and osteocytic properties in the cortical bone of the subtrochanteric femoral shaft, and the association between osteocytic and histological cortical bone parameters. Undecalcified histological sections of the subtrochanteric femoral shaft were obtained from cadavers (n = 20, aged 18-82 years, males). They were cut and stained using modified Masson-Goldner stain. Histomorphometric parameters of cortical bone were analysed with ×50 and ×100 magnification after identifying cortical bone boundaries using our previously validated method. Within cortical bone areas, only complete osteons with typical concentric lamellae and cement line were selected and measured. Osteocytic parameters of cortical bone were analyzed under phase contrast microscopy and epifluorescence within microscopic fields (0.55 mm2 for each). The cortical widths of the medial and lateral quadrants were significantly higher than other quadrants (P < 0.01). Osteonal area per cortical bone area was lower and cortical porosities were higher in the posterior quadrant than in the other quadrants (P < 0.05). Osteocyte lacunar number per cortical bone area was found higher in the young subjects (≤ 50 years) than in the older ones (> 50 years) both before and after adjustments for body height and weight (P < 0.05). Moreover, significant but low correlations were found between the cortical bone and osteocytic parameters (0.20 ≤ R2  ≤ 0.35, P < 0.05). It can be concluded that in healthy males, the cortical histomorphometric parameters differ between the anatomical regions of the subtrochanteric femoral shaft, and are correlated with the osteocytic parameters from the same site. These findings may be of use when discussing mechanisms that predispose patients to decreasing bone strength.


bone histomorphometry; cortical bone; osteocyte; regional difference; subtrochanteric femoral shaft

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