Relationships among microstructural properties of bone at the human midshaft femur

Haviva M. Goldman, C. D.L. Thomas, J. G. Clement, T. G. Bromage

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Mineralization density and collagen fibre orientation are two aspects of a bone's microstructural organization that influence its mechanical properties. Previous studies by our group have demonstrated a distinctly non-random, though highly variable, spatial distribution of these two variables in the human femoral cortex. In this study of 37 specimens, these variables are examined relative to one another in order to determine whether regions of bone demonstrating higher or lower mineralization density also demonstrate a prevalence of either transversely or longitudinally oriented collagen fibres. An analysis of rank-transformed collagen fibre orientation (as determined by circularly polarized light) and mineralization density (as determined by backscattered electron microscopy) data sets demonstrated that areas of low mineralization density (predominantly in the anterior-lateral cortex) tended to correspond to regions of higher proportions of longitudinally oriented collagen fibres. Conversely, areas of higher mineralization density (postero-medially) tended to correspond to regions of higher proportions of transversely oriented collagen fibres. High variability in the sample led to generally low correlations between the two data sets, however. A second analysis focused only on the orientation of collagen fibres within poorly mineralized bone (representing bone that was newly formed). This analysis demonstrated a lower proportion of transverse collagen fibres in newly formed bone with age, along with some significant regional differences in the prevalence of collagen fibres of either orientation. Again high variability characterized the sample. These results are discussed relative to the hypothesized forces experienced at the midshaft femur.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)127-139
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Anatomy
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2005


  • Bone microstructure
  • Collagen fibre orientation
  • Femur
  • Human
  • Image analysis
  • Mineralization density

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anatomy
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Histology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Developmental Biology
  • Cell Biology


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