The sexual dimorphism in age-related loss of human vertebral cancellous bone is not fully understood and could be related to dimorphism in the bone cell populations. The objective of this study was to investigate age- and gender-related differences in the osteocyte population and its relationship with bone volume fraction for human vertebral cancellous bone. Histomorphometric techniques were used to quantify osteocyte lacunae (a measure of osteocyte population) and bone volume fraction in male and female human T12 vertebrae, the most common site of vertebral fracture. Two measures of osteocyte population [number of osteocytes per bone area (OtLcDn) and number of osteocytes per total area (OtLcN/TA)] and their relationships with age and bone volume fraction were found to be sexually dimorphic. Dimorphism in osteocyte density may explain the dimorphic patterns of bone loss in human vertebrae due to the sensory and signal communication functions that osteocytes perform. © 2004 Wiley-Liss, Inc.