Cortical Bone Histomorphometry of the Iliac Crest in Normal Black and White South African Adults
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- Schnitzler, C.M. & Mesquita, J.M. Calcif Tissue Int (2006) 79: 373. doi:10.1007/s00223-006-0053-z
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Fragility fracture rates in South African blacks (B) are lower than in whites (W). Since bone strength in many parts of the skeleton depends mainly on cortical bone, we examined iliac crest cortical bone from 97 B (49 male, 48 female) aged 22–80 and 111 W (60 male, 51 female) aged 21–84 histomorphometrically for differences between B and W and effects of age. B had thicker (P = 0.02) and less porous (P = 0.0007) cortices, fewer haversian (H) osteons (P < 0.0001), and greater endocortical (Ec) wall thickness (P < 0.0001). B also had thicker H (P = 0.0005) and Ec osteoid seams (P < 0.0001); greater Ec osteoid surface (P = 0.0005), Ec mineral apposition rate (P < 0.0001), and Ec bone formation rate (P = 0.038); and lower H (P = 0.0002) and Ec eroded surfaces (P = 0.029). Some of the differences were already present in subjects aged 21–30 years. Although cortical structure deteriorated with age in B and W, after age 40 Ec wall thickness declined only in W. Greater Ec mineral apposition and bone formation rates, i.e., greater osteoblast efficiency at the cellular and tissue levels, suggest better Ec bone preservation that may contribute to lower fragility fracture rates in B.