Bone undergoes continual damage repair and structural adaptation to changing external loads with the aim of maintaining skeletal integrity throughout life. The ability to monitor bone (re)modeling would allow for a better understanding in how various pathologies and interventions affect bone turnover and subsequent bone strength. To date, however, current methods to monitor bone (re)modeling over time and in space are limited. We propose a novel method to visualize and quantify bone turnover, based on in vivo microCT imaging and a 4D computational approach. By in vivo tracking of spatially correlated formation and resorption sites over time it classifies bone restructuring into (re)modeling sequences, the spatially and temporally linked sequences of formation, resorption and quiescent periods on the bone surface. The microCT based method was validated using experimental data from an in vivo mouse tibial loading model and ex vivo data of the mouse tibia. In this application, the method allows the visualization of time-resolved cortical (re)modeling and the quantification of short-term and long-term modeling on the endocortical and periosteal surface at the mid-diaphysis of loaded and control mice tibiae. Both short-term and long-term modeling processes, independent formation and resorption events, could be monitored and modeling (spatially not correlated formation and resorption) and remodeling (resorption followed by new formation at the same site) could be distinguished on the bone surface. This novel method that combines in vivo microCT with a computational approach is a powerful tool to monitor bone turnover in animal models now and is waiting to be applied to human patients in the near future.
Keywords: Bone; Micro-Ct; Monitoring; Mouse; Remodeling.
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