Hesse B, Männicke N, Pacureanu A, Varga P, Langer M, Maurer P, Peyrin F, Raum K
J Microsc 255 (3) 158-168 [2014-09-00; online 2014-07-08]
The architectural properties of the osteocyte cell network provide a valuable basis for understanding the mechanisms of bone remodelling, mineral homeostasis, ageing and pathologies. Recent advances in synchrotron microtomography enable unprecedented three-dimensional imaging of both the bone lacunar network and the extracellular matrix. Here, we investigate the three-dimensional morphological properties of osteocyte lacunae in human healthy and bisphosphonate-related osteonecrotic jaw bone based on synchrotron X-ray computed tomography images, with a spatial isotropic voxel size of 300 nm. Bisphosphonate-related osteonecrosis of the jaw is a relatively new disease with increasing incidence, which remains poorly understood. A step forward in elucidating this malady is to assess whether, and how, the morphology of the osteocyte lacunar network is modified in the affected jaw tissue. We evaluate thousands of cell lacunae from five specimens of which three originate from patients diagnosed with bisphosphonate-associated osteonecrosis. In this exploratory study, we report three-dimensional quantitative results on lacunar volumes (296-502 μm(3)), shape (approximated by an ellipsoidal shape with principal axes a > b > c, such that a = 2.2b and a = 4c) and spatial distribution (i.e., 50% of the mineralized matrix volume is located within 12 μm to the closest lacunar boundary) at submicron resolution on such specimens. We observe that the average lacunar volumes of the bisphosphonate-related osteonecrotic jaw specimens were within the range of volumes found in the two specimens originating from healthy donors and conclude that lacunar volumes are not the key element in the course of bisphosphonate-related osteonecrotic jaw. In three out of five specimens we observe lacunar volume sizes in segmented osteons to be significantly different compared to lacunar volumes in the adjacent tissue regions. Furthermore, we quantify the number of lacunae containing small dense objects (on average 9%). In contrast to lacunar morphology we report the lacunar density (16,000-50,000 per mm(3)) to be different in jaw bone tissue compared to what has been reported in femoral sites.