In vivo microCT-based time-lapse morphometry reveals anatomical site-specific differences in bone (re)modeling serving as baseline parameters to detect early pathological events

Bone. 2022 Aug;161:116432. doi: 10.1016/j.bone.2022.116432. Epub 2022 May 12.


The bone structure is very dynamic and continuously adapts its geometry to external stimuli by modeling and remodeling the mineralized tissue. In vivo microCT-based time-lapse morphometry is a powerful tool to study the temporal and spatial dynamics of bone (re)modeling. Here an advancement in the methodology to detect and quantify site-specific differences in bone (re)modeling of 12-week-old BALB/c nude mice is presented. We describe our method of quantifying new bone surface interface readouts and how these are influenced by bone curvature. This method is then used to compare bone surface (re)modeling in mice across different anatomical regions to demonstrate variations in the rate of change and spatial gradients thereof. Significant differences in bone (re)modeling baseline parameters between the metaphyseal and epiphyseal, as well as cortical and trabecular bone of the distal femur and proximal tibia are shown. These results are validated using conventional static in vivo microCT analysis. Finally, the insights from these new baseline values of physiological bone (re)modeling were used to evaluate pathological bone (re)modeling in a pilot breast cancer bone metastasis model. The method shows the potential to be suitable to detect early pathological events and track their spatio-temporal development in both cortical and trabecular bone. This advancement in (re)modeling surface analysis and defined baseline parameters according to distinct anatomical regions will be valuable to others investigating various disease models with site-distinct local alterations in bone (re)modeling.

Keywords: Bone (re)modeling baseline parameters; Early osteolytic events; In vivo microcomputed tomography (microCT); Tibia vs. femur; Time-lapse morphometry.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bone Density / physiology
  • Bone and Bones* / diagnostic imaging
  • Mice
  • Mice, Nude
  • Tibia* / diagnostic imaging
  • Tibia* / physiology
  • Time-Lapse Imaging
  • X-Ray Microtomography / methods