Bone marrow regeneration follwing tibial marrow ablation in rats is age dependent

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Fisher, Maya
Boyan, Barbara D.
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Objective: Injuries to the marrow cavity result in rapid bone formation followed by regeneration of the marrow. It is not known whether this process is affected by age, although the quality of marrow is markedly different in young and old animals. To test if marrow restoration differs with age, we used the rat tibial bone marrow ablation model, which has been used to examine calcification, osteointegration of metal implants, and remodeling of bone graft substitutes. Methods: Marrow was ablated in the left tibia of seven rats (rNu/rNu) per time point. At 0,7,14,21,28,35 and 42 days post-surgery, treated tibias and contralateral tibias were harvested and fixed in buffered formalin. Both tibias were scanned using microCT and trabecular and cortical BVF/TV calculated. Mid-sagittal sections of decalcified bones were stained with H&E and BVF/TV calculated. Results: MicroCT analysis of 1-month animals showed increased bone formation on day-7 and on day-21 the marrow was restored. Increased bone was seen in 3-month animals on day-7 and day-14, but it was significantly less than in 1-month rats. By day-21, trabecular bone was reduced by 50%. 10-month animals had less trabecular bone at day-7 and 14, but bone remained in the medullary canal through day-1. Histomorphometry indicated that bone formation peaked at day-7 in 1-month rats with remodeling underway by day-14. Bone formation in 3-month rats also peaked at day-7, but restoration occurred by day-21. However, in 10-month rats, peak bone occurred on day-14, with remodeling on day-28. Conclusions: Aged animals produced less primary bone than younger animals and remodeling was initiated later. Differences in micro-CT and histomorphometric analyses may reflect a reduction in calcification of the osteoid in the 10-month old animals. (Supported by Boston Scientific, Inc.)
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