The purpose of this study was to describe the age-specific distribution of midfemoral intracortical porosity throughout the cortical width in males and females. Microradiography and an automated image analysis system were used to study midfemoral cortical bone specimens from 163 white people, including 77 males and 86 females, in a recent anthropological collection covering a broad age range. In each specimen, porosity (percentage of the cortical bone area occupied by pores), pore number, and pore size were measured throughout the entire cortex and in three cortical subregions of equal width labeled the periosteal, midcortical, and endosteal subregions. For each gender, relationships linking age to porosity, pore number, and mean pore size were assessed using regression analysis. In addition, age- and site-related changes in these three variables were tested for significance using two-way analysis of variance (ANOVA). Age explained 52% of the porosity variance in females and 13.5% in males. In each gender, there were significant age- and site-related differences in porosity, pore number, and pore size. In adults aged 60 years or younger, both pore size and pore number increased with increasing age, whereas in adults older than 60 years, pore size continued to increase but pore number decreased. In males, the age-related changes in pore size and pore number were proportionally similar in the three cortical subregions. In females, in contrast, the changes predominated in the endosteal subregion and resulted in significant cortical thinning.
Keywords: porosity; cortical bone; human femur; bone aging; cortical thickness