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Identification of trabecular excrescences, novel microanatomical structures, present in bone in osteoarthropathies

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal articlepeer-review

  • Adam Taylor
  • A. Boyde
  • J. S. Davidson
  • Jonathan C. Jarvis
  • L. R. Ranganath
  • J. A. Gallagher
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>21/04/2012
<mark>Journal</mark>European Cells and Materials
Number of pages10
Pages (from-to)300-309
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English


It is widely held that bone architecture is finely regulated in accordance with homeostatic requirements. Aberrant remodelling (hyperdensification and/or cyst formation in the immediately subchondral region) has previously been described in bone underlying cartilage in arthropathies. The present study examined the trabecular architecture of samples of bone, initially in the severe osteoarthropathy of alkaptonuria, but subsequently in osteoarthritis using a combination of light microscopy, 3D scanning electron microscopy and quantitative backscattered electron scanning electron microscopy. We report an extraordinary and previously unrecognised bone phenotype in both disorders, including novel microanatomical structures. The underlying subchondral trabecular bone contained idiosyncratic architecture. Trabecular surfaces had numerous outgrowths that we have termed "trabecular excrescences", of which three distinct types were recognised. The first type arose from incomplete resorption of branching secondary trabeculae arising from the deposition of immature (woven) bone in prior marrow space. These were characterised by very deeply scalloped surfaces and rugged edges. The second type had arisen in a similar way but been smoothed over by new bone deposition. The third type, which resembled coarse stucco, probably arises from resting surfaces that had been focally reactivated. These were poorly integrated with the prior trabecular wall. We propose that these distinctive microanatomical structures are indicative of abnormal osteoclast/osteoblast modelling in osteoarthropathies, possibly secondary to altered mechanical loading or other aberrant signalling. Identification of the mechanisms underlying the formation of trabecular excrescences will contribute to a better understanding of the role of aberrant bone remodelling in arthropathies and development of new therapeutic strategies.