Tibial changes in experimental disuse osteoporosis in the monkey

  • D. R. Young
  • W. J. Niklowitz
  • C. R. Steele
Laboratory Investigations


We studied the mechanical properties and structural changes in the monkey tibia with disuse osteoporosis and during subsequent recovery. Bone bending stiffness was evaluated in relationship to microscopic changes in cortical bone and Norland bone mineral analysis. Restraint in the semireclined position produced regional losses of bone most obviously in the anterior-proximal tibiae. Following 6 months of restraint, the greatest losses of bone mineral in the proximal tibiae ranged from 23% to 31%; the largest changes in bone stiffness ranged from 36% to 40%. Approximately 8 ½ months of recovery were required for restoration of normal bending properties. However, even after 15 months of recovery, bone mineral content did not necessarily return to normal levels. Histologically, resorption cavities in cortical bone were seen within 1 month of restraint; by 2 ½ months of restraint there were large resorption cavities subperiosteally, endosteally, and intracortically. After 15 months of recovery, the cortex consisted mainly of first-generation haversian systems. After 40 months, the cortex appeared normal with numerous secondary and tertiary generations of haversian systems.

Key words

Immobilization Bone strength Resorption Recovery 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag New York Inc. 1983

Authors and Affiliations

  • D. R. Young
    • 1
  • W. J. Niklowitz
    • 1
  • C. R. Steele
    • 1
  1. 1.Biomedical Research DivisionAmes Research Center, NASAMoffett FieldUSA

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