, Volume 83, Issue 5, pp 342-353
Date: 15 Oct 2008

Fourier Transform Infrared Imaging Microspectroscopy and Tissue-Level Mechanical Testing Reveal Intraspecies Variation in Mouse Bone Mineral and Matrix Composition

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Abstract

Fracture susceptibility is heritable and dependent upon bone morphology and quality. However, studies of bone quality are typically overshadowed by emphasis on bone geometry and bone mineral density. Given that differences in mineral and matrix composition exist in a variety of species, we hypothesized that genetic variation in bone quality and tissue-level mechanical properties would also exist within species. Sixteen-week-old female A/J, C57BL/6J (B6), and C3H/HeJ (C3H) inbred mouse femora were analyzed using Fourier transform infrared imaging and tissue-level mechanical testing for variation in mineral composition, mineral maturity, collagen cross-link ratio, and tissue-level mechanical properties. A/J femora had an increased mineral-to-matrix ratio compared to B6. The C3H mineral-to-matrix ratio was intermediate of A/J and B6. C3H femora had reduced acid phosphate and carbonate levels and an increased collagen cross-link ratio compared to A/J and B6. Modulus values paralleled mineral-to-matrix values, with A/J femora being the most stiff, B6 being the least stiff, and C3H having intermediate stiffness. In addition, work-to-failure varied among the strains, with the highly mineralized and brittle A/J femora performing the least amount of work-to-failure. Inbred mice are therefore able to differentially modulate the composition of their bone mineral and the maturity of their bone matrix in conjunction with tissue-level mechanical properties. These results suggest that specific combinations of bone quality and morphological traits are genetically regulated such that mechanically functional bones can be constructed in different ways.