Bone Morphometry Strongly Predicts Cortical Bone Stiffness and Strength, but Not Toughness, in Inbred Mouse Models of High and Low Bone Mass


  • The authors state that they have no conflicts of interest.

  • Published online on March 17, 2008;


Inbred strains of mice make useful models to study bone properties. Our aim was to compare bone competence and cortical morphometric parameters of two inbred strains to better determine the role of bone structure and geometry in the process of bone failure. Morphometric analysis was performed on 20 murine femora with a low bone mass (C57BL/6J; B6) and 20 murine femora with a high bone mass (C3H/HeJ; C3H) using desktop μCT. The bones were tested under three-point bending to measure their mechanical properties. Results showed that the C3H strain is a more reproducible model regarding bone morphometric and mechanical phenotypes than the B6 strain. Bone strength, stiffness, yield force, yield displacement, and toughness, as well as morphometric traits, were all significantly different between the two strains, whereas postyield displacement was not. It was found that bone volume, cortical thickness, and cross-sectional area predicted almost 80% (p < 0.05) of bone stiffness, strength, and yield force. Nevertheless, cortical bone postyield properties such as bone toughness could not be explained by morphometry, but postyield whitening was observed in that phase. In conclusion, we found that morphometric parameters are strong predictors of preyield but not postyield properties. The lack of morphometric influence on bone competence in the postyield phase in combination with the observed postyield whitening confirmed the important contribution of ultrastructure and microdamage in the process of overall bone failure behavior, especially in the postyield phase.