• Ca phosphate apatites;
  • physiological calcifications;
  • pathological calcifications;
  • Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy X-ray absorption spectroscopy;
  • strontium environment

Osteoporosis represents a major public health problem and increases patient morbidity through its association with fragility fractures. Among the different treatments proposed, strontium-based drugs have been shown to increase bone mass in postmenopausal osteoporosis patients and to reduce fracture risk. While the localization of Sr2+ cations in the bone matrix has been extensively studied, little is known regarding the status of Sr2+ cations in natural biological apatite. In this investigation the local environment of Sr2+ cations has been investigated through XANES (X-ray absorption near-edge structure) spectroscopy in a set of pathological and physiological apatites. To assess the localization of Sr2+ cations in these biological apatites, numerical simulations using the ab initioFEFF9 X-ray spectroscopy program have been performed. The complete set of data show that the XANES part of the absorption spectra may be used as a fingerprint to determine the localization of Sr2+ cations versus the mineral part of calcifications. More precisely, it appears that a relationship exists between some features present in the XANES part and a Sr2+/Ca2+ substitution process in site (I) of crystal apatite. Regarding the data, further experiments are needed to confirm a possible link between the relationship between the preparation mode of the calcification (cellular activity for physiological calcification and precipitation for the pathological one) and the adsorption mode of Sr2+ cations (simple adsorption or insertion). Is it possible to draw a line between life and chemistry through the localization of Sr in apatite? The question is open for discussion. A better structural description of these physiological and pathological calcifications will help to develop specific therapies targeting the demineralization process in the case of osteoporosis.