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Calcif Tissue Int. 1993;53 Suppl 1:S82-5; discussion S85-6.

Bone age, mineral density, and fatigue damage.

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  • 1Henry Ford Hospital, Bone and Mineral Research Laboratory, Detroit, Michigan 48202.


The most plausible purpose for bone remodeling is to prevent excessive aging of bone, which can cause osteocyte death and increase susceptibility to fatigue microdamage. The age of any particular volume of bone depends on two factors: the probability of remodeling beginning on the nearest bone surface, which is given by the local activation frequency; and the probability of a particular remodeling event penetrating to a specified distance from the surface. These two probabilities can be combined in a mathematical model. According to the model, within about 40 microns from the surface, the rate of surface remodeling is the main determinant of bone age, but beyond 40 microns, the distance from the surface becomes progressively more important. Beyond 75 microns, the bone is essentially isolated from surface remodeling. Application of the model to subjects with and without vertebral fracture indicated that the proportion of iliac cancellous bone with a mean age greater than 20 years was less than 20% in all the control subjects without fracture, but was more than 20% in about one-third of the patients with fracture. Bone age is a major determinant of the degree of mineralization, so that osteoporotic patients with prolonged bone age should have bone of higher true mineral density. Accordingly, mineral density distribution was determined by scanning electron microscopy with backscattered electron imaging, calibrated in terms of atomic number.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

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