Fourier-transform infrared microspectroscopy (FTIRM) allows analysis of mineral content, mineral crystal maturity and mineral composition at ~10-μ spatial resolution. Previous FTIRM analyses comparing 4-μ thick sections from non-decalcified iliac crest biopsies from women with post-menopausal osteoporosis, as contrasted with iliac crest tissue from individuals without evidence of metabolic bone disease, demonstrated significant differences in average mineral content (decreased in osteoporosis) and mineral crystal size/perfection (increased in osteoporosis). More importantly, these parameters, which vary throughout the tissue in relation to the tissue age in healthy bone, showed no such variation in bone biopsies from patients with osteoporosis. The present study compares the spatial and temporal variation in mineral quantity and properties in trabecular bone in high- and low-turnover osteoporosis. Specifically, six biopsies from women (n=5) and one man with high-turnover osteoporosis (age range 39–77) and four women and two men with low turnover osteoporosis (age range 37–63) were compared to ten “normal” biopsies from three men and seven woman (age range: 27–69). “High turnover” was defined as the presence of increased resorptive surface, higher than normal numbers of osteoclasts and greater than or equal to normal osteoblastic activity. “Low turnover” was defined as lower than normal resorptive surface, decreased osteoclast number and less than normal osteoblastic activity. Comparing variations in FTIR-derived values for each of the parameters measured at the surfaces of the trabecular bone to the maximum value observed in multiple trabeculae from each person, the high-turnover samples showed little change in the mineral: matrix ratio, carbonate: amide I ratio, crystallinity and acid phosphate content. The low-turnover samples also showed little change in these parameters, but in contrast to the high-turnover samples, the low-turnover samples showed a slight increase in these parameters, indicative of retarded, but existent resorption and formation. These data indicate that FTIR microspectroscopy can provide quantitative information on mineral changes in osteoporosis that are consistent with proposed mechanisms of bone loss.
FTIR microspectroscopy; High-turnover osteoporosis; Low-turnover osteoporosis; Mineral content; Mineral crystallinity; Trabecular bone