Structural Adaptation of Trabecular Bone Revealed by Position Resolved Analysis of Proximal Femora of Different Primates

Authors

  • Peter Saparin,

    1. Department of Biomaterials, Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces, Potsdam, Germany
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  • Heike Scherf,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Human Evolution, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Leipzig, Germany
    2. Department of Paleoanthropology, Senckenberg Center for Human Evolution and Palaeoecology, Center for Archaeological Science, Eberhard Karls University, Tuebingen, Germany
    • Department of Paleoanthropology, Senckenberg Center for Human Evolution and Palaeoecology, Center for Archaeological Science, Eberhard Karls University, Ruemelinstraße 23, D-72070 Tuebingen, Germany
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    • Fax: 00 49 (0) 7071 295 717

  • Jean-Jacques Hublin,

    1. Department of Human Evolution, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Leipzig, Germany
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  • Peter Fratzl,

    1. Department of Biomaterials, Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces, Potsdam, Germany
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  • Richard Weinkamer

    1. Department of Biomaterials, Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces, Potsdam, Germany
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Abstract

The anisotropic arrangement of trabeculae in the proximal femur of humans and primates is seen as striking evidence for the functional adaptation of trabecular bone architecture. Quantitative evidence to demonstrate this adaptation for trabecular bone is still scarce, because experimental design of controlled load change is difficult. In this work, we use the natural variation of loading caused by a different main locomotor behavior of primates. Using high-resolution computed tomography and advanced image analysis techniques, we analyze the heterogeneity of the architecture in four proximal femora of four primate species. Although the small sample number does not allow an interspecies comparison, the very differently loaded bones are well suited to search for common structural features as a result of adaptation. A cubic volume of interest of size (5 mm)3 was moved through the proximal femur and a morphometric analysis including local anisotropy was performed on 209 positions on average. The correlation of bone volume fraction (BV/TV) with trabecular number (Tb.N) and trabecular thickness (Tb.Th) leads to the suggestion of two different mechanisms of trabecular bone adaptation. Higher values of BV/TV in highly loaded regions of the proximal femur are due to a thickening of the trabeculae, whereas Tb.N does not change. In less loaded regions, however, lower values of BV/TV are found, caused by a reduction of the number of the trabeculae, whereas Tb.Th remains constant. This reduction in Tb.N goes along with an increase in the degree of anisotropy, indicating an adaptive selection of trabeculae. Anat Rec, 2010. © 2010 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

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