, Volume 41, Issue 3, pp 137-144

Age-related changes in mineral of rat and bovine cortical bone

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The mineral of cortical bones has been studied in newborn, growing, and adult rats and in the calf and cow, using X-ray diffraction and infrared spectroscopy during the thermal decomposition of bones and by microassay of carbonate. The mineral of all the bone samples, regardless of species or age, was found to be a calcium-deficient apatite containing both CO3 2− and HPO4 2− ions in the crystal lattice. The crystal size, Ca/P molar ratio, and CO3 2− ion content of cortical bone all increased with increasing age in both the rat and the bovine. The Ca/P ratio varied from 1.51 in newborn rats to 1.69 in adults but remained that of Ca-deficient apatite even though its value was close to that of stoichiometric hydroxyapatite (1.67). Both the carbonate ion and the hydrogenophosphate ion contents varied from one animal species to another and with age within a given species. Maturation was correlated with an increase in carbonate ion content, which replaced the HPO4 2− ions. In contrast, the calcium ion number per unit formula did not vary during maturation. Cortical bone mineral, in both species, regardless of age, can therefore be represented by the following formula: Ca8.3(PO4)4.3(CO3)x(HPO4)y(OH)0.3; y decreased and x increased with increasing age, (x+y) being constant, equal to 1.7.