We used the SAMP6 osteoporotic mouse to examine the link between marrow osteogenic potential and in vivo cortical bone formation. SAMP6 marrow supported less in vitro osteogenesis than marrow from SAMR1 controls; SAMP6 mice had a corresponding deficit in endocortical mineralizing surface. This marrow/endocortical defect did not affect the periosteum, where SAMP6 mice had normal to enhanced bone formation.
Introduction: With aging, there may be a reduction in the number or proliferative capacity of bone marrow osteoprogenitors that may contribute to age-related decreases in bone formation. To examine the link between the ability of the marrow to support osteogenesis and age-related changes in bone formation, we measured in vitro and in vivo indices of osteogenesis in a model of osteoporosis, the senescence-accelerated mouse SAMP6.
Materials and Methods: Femora and tibias from SAMP6 and SAMR1 (control) mice were harvested at 2, 4, 6, and 12 months of age (168 bones total). Bone marrow cells were cultured under osteogenic conditions and stained for alkaline phosphatase (ALP) and alizarin red. Dynamic indices of bone formation were assessed histologically from calcein labels.
Results: ALP+ and alizarin red-positive areas were significantly less in cultures from SAMP6 bones versus SAMR1 (p < 0.05), indicating less osteogenic potential. For example, SAMP6 tibial cultures had 21% less ALP+ area and 36% less alizarin red-positive area than SAMR1. Marrow from tibias had 2-fold greater osteogenesis than femoral marrow (p < 0.001). SAMP6 mice had a deficit in endocortical mineralizing surface across all age groups (p < 0.05), but no deficit in mineral apposition rate. Last, despite the marrow and endocortical deficits, SAMP6 mice had normal or slightly increased periosteal bone formation, consistent with their larger bone size.
Conclusion: SAMP6 bone marrow supports less in vitro osteogenesis than SAMR1, consistent with a lower concentration of marrow osteoprogenitors in SAMP6. SAMP6 mice have less endocortical mineralizing surface than SAMR1 at all ages but no detectable deficit in mineral apposition rate, which suggests a reduction in osteoblast number but normal function. Periosteal bone formation is unimpaired in SAMP6 mice, indicating that the marrow/endocortical defect does not affect the periosteal surface.