Bone strength is controlled by both bone mass, and the organization and quality of the bone material. The current standard method for measuring bone mass in mouse and rat studies is micro-computed tomography. This method typically uses a single threshold to identify bone material in the cortical and trabecular regions. However, this single threshold method obscures information about the mineral content of the bone material and depends on normal morphology to separately analyze cortical and trabecular structures. To extend this method to identify bone mass at multiple density levels, we have established a protocol for unbiased selection and application of multiple thresholds using a standard laboratory-based micro-computed tomography instrument. This non-invasive method can be applied to longitudinal studies and archived samples and provides additional information about bone structure and strength.
Cortical bone; Micro-computed tomography; Bone structure; Bone development; Bone mass; Mineralization