Large-scale osteocyte lacunar morphological analysis of transiliac bone in normal and osteoporotic premenopausal women

Elliott Goff, Adi Cohen, Elizabeth Shane, Robert R. Recker, Gisela Kuhn, Ralph Müller

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Bone's ability to adapt is governed by the network of embedded osteocytes, which inhabit individual pores called lacunae. The morphology of these lacunae and their resident osteocytes are known to change with age and diseases such as postmenopausal osteoporosis. However, it is unclear whether alterations in lacunar morphology are present in younger populations with osteoporosis. To investigate this, we implemented a previously validated methodology to image and quantify the three-dimensional morphometries of lacunae on a large scale with ultra-high-resolution micro-computed tomography (microCT) in transiliac bone biopsies from three groups of premenopausal women: control n = 39; idiopathic osteoporosis (IOP) n = 45; idiopathic low BMD (ILBMD) n = 19. Lacunar morphometric parameters were measured in both trabecular and cortical bone such as lacunar density (Lc.N/BV), lacunar volume (Lc.V), and lacunar sphericity (Lc.Sr). These were then compared against each other and also with previously measured tissue morphometries such as bone volume density (BV/TV), trabecular separation (Tb.Sp), trabecular number (Tb.N), and others. We detected no differences in lacunar morphology between the IOP, ILBMD and healthy premenopausal women. In contrast, we did find significant differences between lacunar morphologies including Lc.N/BV, Lc. V, and Lc. Sr in cortical and trabecular regions within all three groups (p < 0.001), which was consistent with our previous findings on a subgroup of the healthy group. Furthermore, we discovered strong correlations between Lc. Sr from trabecular regions with the measured BV/TV (R = −0.90, p < 0.05). The findings and comprehensive lacunar dataset we present here will be a crucial foundation for future investigations of the relationship between osteocyte lacunar morphology and disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number116424
StatePublished - Jul 2022
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Histology
  • Physiology


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