Periosteal remodeling at the femoral neck in nonhuman primates

Michael Bliziotes, Jean D. Sibonga, Russell T. Turner, Eric Orwoll

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

24 Scopus citations


Periosteal bone turnover is poorly understood. We documented intramembranous periosteal bone turnover in the femoral neck in intact nonhuman primates and an increase in osteoclast numbers at the periosteal surface in sex steroid-deficient animals. Our studies are the first to systematically document periosteal turnover at the femoral neck. Introduction: Bone size is an important determinant of bone strength, and cellular events at the periosteal surface could alter bone dimensions. We characterized periosteal cellular activity with dynamic histomorphometric studies of nonhuman primate femoral neck and shaft. Materials and Methods: Femur specimens from 16 intact adult male and female nonhuman primates (Rhesus [Macaca mulatta, n = 9] and Japanese Macaque [Macaca fuscata, n = 7]) were analyzed. Animals were double-labeled with tetracycline, and necropsy was performed 2-7 days after the last dose. We characterized periosteal resorptive activity in an additional group of five intact and four castrate female animals. Multiple group comparisons in intact animals were performed by one-way ANOVA followed by a Fisher PLSD posthoc test. In gonadectomized animals, Fisher's exact test was used for dichotomous and Mann-Whitney U-test for continuous variables. Results: Bone turnover in the periosteum of the femoral neck in intact animals was more rapid than at the femoral shaft but slower than in femoral neck cancellous bone. Similarly, in these intact animals, the eroded surface of cortical bone at the femoral neck periosteal surface was significantly greater than in the cancellous bone compartment (p < 0.0001) or on the femoral shaft (p < 0.0001). Gonadectomized female animals showed an increase in osteoclast number on the periosteal surface compared with intact controls (p < 0.01). Conclusions: We documented intramembranous periosteal bone turnover in the femoral neck by histomorphometric analyses. The tissue level bone formation rate was sufficient to add substantively to femoral neck size over time. Periosteal osteoclastic activity was not the result of the emergence of intracortical tunneling at the bone surface. Sex steroid deficiency produced an increase in osteoclast numbers at the periosteal surface. This is the first systematic documentation of periosteal turnover at the femoral neck.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1060-1067
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Bone and Mineral Research
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 1 2006



  • Bone histomorphometry
  • Bone mineralization
  • Modeling and remodeling
  • Osteoblasts
  • Periosteum
  • Primate

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine

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