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Calcif Tissue Int. 1995 Jan;56(1):78-82.

Effect of decalcification on bone mineral content and bending strength of feline femur.

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Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, National University of Singapore.


The relationships between bone mineral content (BMC), bone calcium, and bone strength were studied in fractionally demineralized feline femurs. In 44 pairs of cat femurs, the right bones were decalcified in ethylene diaminetetra acetic acid (EDTA) to 20%, 40%, 60%, 80%, and 100% of the mineral content of the intact left bone (= control). The bones were then loaded to failure, and maximum strength values were recorded. The data were then used to calculate the percentage strength of the right relative to the left femurs. A correlation coefficient (r) of 0.970 was found between the percentage decalcification and percentage bending strength. A direct relationship (r = 0.876) was also observed between the total calcium extracted and total loss in BMC. The EDTA solutions were spot checked for protein content to determine if the organic matrices had been altered by demineralization. Protein was never detected. Nor did the demineralized tissues display histologic evidence of gross microscopic damage. This study has shown that in cat femurs, 20% decalcification led to about 35% loss in bending strength, and 60% decalcification caused 75% loss in strength. These values are significant as they highlight the importance of calcium to the strength of osteopenic bone.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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