Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications, Vol.417, No.2, 765-770, 2012
Structural differences in the osteocyte network between the calvaria and long bone revealed by three-dimensional fluorescence morphometry, possibly reflecting distinct mechano-adaptations and sensitivities
The structural features of osteocytes and their cellular process network are thought to allow for mechanotransduction from the bone tissue to these cells. This study applied three-dimensional fluorescence microscopy to fixed and decalcified bone specimens to quantitatively compare the osteocytes and their networks between mouse parietal bone and tibia that are physiologically enforced by distinct mechanical loads. The subsequent morphometric analysis by the surface rendering of osteocyte cell bodies revealed the tibia to have relatively enriched cytoplasm in the osteocyte cell body in comparison to the parietal bone. Furthermore, quantitative tracing of the cellular processes in silico demonstrated that the numbers of the cellular processes and their bifurcation points per osteocyte in the tibia were significantly higher than those in the parietal bone. Though the total length of the processes per osteocyte in the tibia was two times longer, its total surface area and total volume were smaller than those in the parietal bone, due to its thinner diameter. These architectural differences in the osteocytes and their networks are thus implicated in the adaptation to physiologically different loading, and may also induce distinct mechanosensitivities. (C) 2011 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.