Distribution of Collagen Cross-Links in Normal Human Trabecular Bone

Elftherios P. Paschalis, R. Recker, E. Dicarlo, S. B. Doty, E. Atti, Al Boskey

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Infrared imaging analysis of normal human iliac crest biopsy specimens shows a characteristic spatial variation in the nonreducible:reducible collagen cross-links at trabecular surfaces, depending on the surfaces' metabolic status. Introduction: Bone is a composite material consisting of mineral, collagen, non-collagenous proteins, and lipids. Bone collagen, mainly type I, provides the scaffold on which mineral is deposited and imparts specific mechanical properties, determined in part by the amount of collagen present, its orientation and fibril diameter, and the distribution of its cross-links. Materials and Methods: In this study, the technique of Fourier transform infrared imaging (FTIRI) was used to determine the ratio of nonreducible:reducible cross-links, in 2- to 4-μm-thick sections from human iliac crest biopsy specimens (N = 14) at trabecular surfaces as a function of surface activity (forming versus resorbing), with an ∼6.3-mm spatial resolution. The biopsy specimens were obtained from patients devoid of any metabolic bone disease based on histomorphometric and bone densitometric parameters. Results and Conclusions: Distributions of collagen cross-links within the first 50 mm at forming trabecular surfaces demonstrated a progressive increase in the nonreducible: reducible collagen cross-link ratio, unlike in the case of resorbing surfaces, in which the collagen cross-links ratio (as defined for the purposes of the present report) was relatively constant.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1942-1946
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Bone and Mineral Research
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2003

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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