Little is known about osteonal bone mineral and matrix properties, although these properties are of major importance for the understanding of bone alterations related to age and bone diseases such as osteoporosis. During aging, bone undergoes modifications that compromise their structural integrity as shown clinically by the increase of fracture incidence with age. Based on Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) analysis from baboons between 0 and 32 yr of age, consistent systematic variations in bone properties as a function of tissue age are reported within osteons. The patterns observed were independent of animal age and positively correlated with bone tissue elastic behavior measured by nano‐indentation. As long as tissue age is expressed as a percentage of the entire osteon radius, osteonal analyses can be used to characterize disease changes independent of the size of the osteon. These mineral and matrix analyses can be used to explain bone fragility. The mineral content (mineral‐to‐matrix ratio) was correlated with the animal age in both old (interstitial) and newly formed bone tissue, showing for the first time that age‐related changes in BMC can be explain by an alteration in the mineralization process itself and not only by an imbalance in the remodeling process.
Keywords: bone quality; aging; osteon; Fourier transform infrared microspectroscopy; Fourier transform infrared imaging; nonhuman primate model