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Keywords:

  • Anisotropy;
  • Bone;
  • Histomorphometry;
  • Star volume;
  • Stereology;
  • Trabecular bone structure

Abstract

Conventional bone histomorphometry performed on iliac crest biopsies does not generally provide unbiased stereological estimates of parameters related to bone structure due to the anisotropy of trabecular bone; this, however, can be obtained with vertical sections, which are anisotropic sections, in combination with an anisotropic test system. A practical procedure for obtaining vertical sections from bone is described. The new stereological parameter, the star volume, can provide an unbiased estimation of the absolute mean size of the marrow space and thus give an indirect estimate of the connectivity of trabecular bone structure. The marrow space star volume of vertebral bodies and iliac crest increases with age in both sexes demonstrating that the structural bone changes which occur with age is a topological one with changes in trabecular connectivity. The practical procedure including sampling efficiency for marrow space star volume is described. © 1993 Wiley-Liss, Inc.