Date of Last Revision

2023-05-03 13:04:42



Degree Name

Bachelor of Science

Date of Expected Graduation

Spring 2019


Osteocytes, the most ubiquitous bone cell type, are responsible for bone maintenance and communication as well as mechanotransduction. Osteocytes reside in spaces within the bone matrix called lacunae, which are used as a proxy for the cells themselves in X-ray imaging. Previous studies have revealed that lacunar volume was reduced in females with increasing age, thus likely contributing to bone frailty and diseases such as osteoporosis. The implications of diseases caused by changes in the bone osteocyte lacunar-canalicular network are not yet fully understood. Since much of the past research revolved around gross bone morphology, this study investigated age and sex-related differences in the bone cellular network of the human species. Utilizing synchrotron radiation-based micro-Computed Tomography, male (n=12) and female (n=8) cortical bone specimen from the mid-diaphyses of the left femora were assessed for tissue volume (μm3), canal volume (μm3), canal surface (μm2), cortical porosity (%), canal surface to tissue volume (μm-1), canal diameter (μm), canal separation (μm), number of canals, and number of lacunae. These parameters were compared between age, sex, and the interaction between both factors. In regard to number of lacunae and their density, a statistically significant reduction was observed with age (p= 0.017) but not with sex or the interaction variable. Thus, lacunar density was reduced with age, but no significant differences between males and females were observed. Limitation in sample size prevented a more extensive result. As such, further investigation is encouraged to confirm the reduction of lacunar volume over the human lifespan.

Research Sponsor

Dr. Janna Andronowski

First Reader

Dr. Jordan Renna

Second Reader

Dr. Brian Bagatto

Included in

Biology Commons



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