Introduction: Mouse models are used frequently to study effects of bone diseases and genetic determinates of bone strength. Murine bones have an intracortical band of woven bone that is not present in human bones. This band is not obvious under brightfield imaging and not typically analyzed. Due to the band's morphology and location it has been theorized to be remnant bone from early in life. Furthermore, lamellar and woven bone are well known to have differing mechanical strengths. The purpose of this study was to determine (i) if the band is from early life and (ii) if the woven bone or calcified cartilage contained within the band affect whole bone strength. Woven Bone Origin Studies: In twelve to fourteen week old mice, doxycycline was used to label bone formed prior to 3 weeks old. Doxycycline labeling and woven bone patterns on contralateral femora matched well and encompassed an almost identical cross-sectional area. Also, we highlight for the first time in mice the presence of calcified cartilage exclusively within the band. However, calcified cartilage could not be identified on high resolution cone-beam microCT scans when examined visually or by thresholding methods. Mechanical Strength Studies: Subsequently, three-point bending was used to analyze the effects of woven bone and calcified cartilage on whole bone mechanics in a cohort of male and female six and 13 week old Balb/C mice. Three-point bending outcomes were correlated with structural and compositional measures using multivariate linear regression. Woven bone composed a higher percent of young bones than older bones. However, calcified cartilage in older bones was twice that of younger bones, which was similar when normalized by area. Area and/or tissue mineral density accounted for >75% of variation for most strength outcomes. Percent calcified cartilage added significant predictive power to maximal force and bending stress. Calcified cartilage and woven bone could have more influence in genetic models where calcified cartilage percent is double our highest value.
Ip, V., Toth, Z., Chibnall, J., & McBride-Gagyi, S. (2016). Remnant woven bone and calcified cartilage in mouse bone: Differences between ages/sex and effects on bone strength. PLoS ONE, 11(11). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0166476