Evidence for reduced bone formation surface relative to bone resorption surface in female femoral fragility fracture patients

Helen Tsangari, David M. Findlay, A. C W Zannettino, Beiqing Pan, Julia S. Kuliwaba, Nicola L. Fazzalari

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Fragility fractures, including neck of femur fractures, result from reductions in the amount, quality and architecture of bone. The aim of this study was to compare the cancellous bone structure, and static indices of bone turnover, in female patients, who had sustained fragility fracture at the femoral neck, with age-matched females without fragility fracture. Bone samples were taken from the intertrochanteric region of the proximal femur of female patients undergoing hip arthroplasty surgery for a subcapital fragility fracture of the femoral neck (#NOF) or from age-matched female control individuals at routine autopsy. Contiguous bone samples were analyzed for undecalcified histomorphometry and for mRNA expression. The histomorphometric data, which were normally distributed, indicated no difference between the mean values for any of the structural parameters in control and fracture samples. In particular, the bone volume (BV/TV) values were not different and did not change significantly with age in these cohorts of individuals aged > 65 years. The static indices of bone turnover, eroded surface (ES/BS) and osteoid surface (OS/BS), were positively correlated with age in the > 65-year-old control group (p < 0.055 and p < 0.03, respectively). The median values for these indices were not different between the fracture and control groups. However, both the median and the range of OS/BS values were increased for > 65-year-old controls compared with a group of younger females aged < 65 years, suggesting an increase in bone formation surface in older females in the proximal femur after 65 years of age. When the data were further interrogated, a reduction in the percentage osteoid surface to eroded surface quotient (OS/ES) was found for the fracture group compared with the age-matched control group suggesting a reduced adaptive modeling drift capability in the fracture group. In contiguous bone samples, increased median values for receptor activator of nuclear factor kappa β (RANK) and interleukin-6 (IL-6) mRNA expression were observed in the fracture group. Study of cultured human osteoblasts showed that recombinant human IL-6 (rhIL-6) inhibited osteoblast differentiation, as measured by an increase in the immature osteoblast marker, STRO-1 and concomitantly decreased expression of the osteoblast maturation marker, alkaline phosphatase. Importantly, cells cultured in the presence of IL-6 showed significantly less mineral deposition in vitro compared with control cultures. These data suggest that perturbations in bone formation surface, relative to resorption surface, are potentially important in producing bone in the proximal femur with increased propensity to fracture.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1226-1235
Number of pages10
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2006


  • Femoral fracture
  • IL-6
  • Modeling
  • Remodeling
  • Trabecular bone turnover

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Physiology
  • Histology

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