Region specific Raman spectroscopy analysis of the femoral head reveals that trabecular bone is unlikely to contribute to non-traumatic osteonecrosis

Sci Rep. 2017 Mar 7;7(1):97. doi: 10.1038/s41598-017-00162-3.


Non-traumatic osteonecrosis (ON) of the femoral head is a common disease affecting a young population as the peak age of diagnosis is in the 40 s. The natural history of non-traumatic ON leads to a collapse of the femoral head requiring prosthetic replacement in a 60% of cases. Although trabecular bone involvement in the collapse is suspected, the underlying modifications induced at a molecular level have not been explored in humans. Here, we examine changes in the molecular composition and structure of bone as evaluated by Raman spectroscopy in human end-stage ON. Comparing samples from femoral heads harvested from 11 patients and 11 cadaveric controls, we show that the mineral and organic chemical composition of trabecular bone in ON is not modified apart from age-related differences. We also show that the molecular composition in the necrotic part of the femoral head is not different from the composition of the remaining 'healthy' trabecular bone of the femoral head. These findings support that quality of trabecular bone is not modified during ON despite extensive bone marrow necrosis and osteocyte death observed even in the 'healthy' zones on histological examination.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Bone Density
  • Cancellous Bone / pathology*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Femur Head Necrosis / pathology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Spectrum Analysis, Raman / methods*