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Bone. 1995 Jan;16(1):125-8.

Quantitative evaluation on osteocyte canalicular density in human secondary osteons.

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Dipartimento di Scienze Morfologiche e Medico Legali, Università di Modena, Italy.


Osteocyte canalicular density (OCD) was evaluated at different levels of the wall of human secondary osteons, in subjects of different ages, to find out whether any correlation exists between the extension of the canalicular network and the exponential decrement of the appositional growth rate (AGR), which has been shown to occur during osteon formation. Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) was used to count the number of canalicular openings per unit surface on large Haversian canals of forming osteons as well as on small canals of completed osteons. Reflected polarized light microscopy (RPL) enabled the number per unit length of canaliculi to be counted at different concentric levels of the osteons. The results of both techniques agree in showing that, in the subjects examined, OCD does not change significantly throughout the osteon wall. Since no correlation exists between OCD and AGR, it follows that osteoblast flattening which was shown to occur in parallel to the decrement of the rate of concentric bone deposition, does not seem to depend primarily on the number of osteoblast-osteocyte contacts, but on other factors.

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