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Type: Journal article
Title: New insights into the propagation of fatigue damage in cortical bone using confocal microscopy and chelating fluorochromes
Author: Zarrinkalam, K.
Kuliwaba, J.
Martin, R.
Blesing, M.
Fazzalari, N.
Citation: European Journal of Morphology, 2005; 42(1-2):81-90
Publisher: Swets Zeitlinger Publishers
Issue Date: 2005
ISSN: 0924-3860
Statement of
K.H. Zarrinkalam; Dr J.S. Kuliwaba; R.B. Martin; M.A.B. Wallwork; N.L. Fazzalari
Abstract: Fatigue damage in bone occurs in the form of microcracks and plays an important role in the initiation of bone remodelling and in the occurrence of stress and fragility fractures. The process by which fatigue microcracks in bone initiate and grow remains poorly understood. The aim of this study was to investigate the microscopic tissue changes associated with microcracks during crack propagation in cortical bone and the influence of bone microstructure on this process. Cracks were mechanically initiated and extended longitudinally in a two-stage process, in six bovine tibial compact tension specimens. The sequential application of chelating fluorochromes, xylenol orange followed by calcein, allowed the nature of microcrack damage at different stages of propagation to be monitored by laser scanning confocal microscopy. Specimens were imaged at a focal plane 20 microm below the samples' surface, or as a series of z-plane images collected to a maximal depth of 200 microm and 35 microm for x 4 and x 40 objectives, respectively. Z-series image stacks were then reconstructed using Amira 3.0 software. Confocal images showed that xylenol orange localised to the crack surface and did not migrate into the crack's extension following further mechanical propagation. Similarly, calcein stained the extended crack's surface and displayed minimal incorporation within the original crack. High resolution confocal images provided a detailed visual description of the crack's 'process zone', and 'process zone wake'. Additionally, an 'interface region' was revealed, displaying a clear distinction between the end of the first crack and the commencement of its extension. Confocal images of the interface region demonstrated that the extended crack forms a continuum with the pre-existing crack and propagates through the former process zone. Upon viewing the three-dimensional reconstructed images, we found evidence suggesting a submicroscopic tissue involvement in fatigue damage, in addition to the potential influence of vascular canals and osteocyte lacunae on its propagation through the bone matrix. This study has provided new insights into the process of fatigue damage growth in bone and factors influencing its progression through the bone matrix. Confocal microscopy in combination with sequential chelating fluorochrome labelling is a valuable technique for monitoring microcrack growth in bone.
Keywords: Bone and Bones; Tibia; Animals; Cattle; Fractures, Stress; Xylenes; Fluoresceins; Chelating Agents; Fluorescent Dyes; Microscopy, Confocal; Bone Remodeling; Stress, Mechanical; Software; Fractures, Bone
RMID: 0020051296
DOI: 10.1080/09243860500096206
Appears in Collections:Pathology publications

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