Heterogeneous glycation of cancellous bone and its association with bone quality and fragility

Lamya Karim, Deepak Vashishth

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70 Scopus citations


Non-enzymatic glycation (NEG) and enzymatic biochemical processes create crosslinks that modify the extracellular matrix (ECM) and affect the turnover of bone tissue. Because NEG affects turnover and turnover at the local level affects microarchitecture and formation and removal of microdamage, we hypothesized that NEG in cancellous bone is heterogeneous and accounts partly for the contribution of microarchitecture and microdamage on bone fragility. Human trabecular bone cores from 23 donors were subjected to compression tests. Mechanically tested cores as well as an additional 19 cores were stained with lead-uranyl acetate and imaged to determine microarchitecture and measure microdamage. Post-yield mechanical properties were measured and damaged trabeculae were extracted from a subset of specimens and characterized for the morphology of induced microdamage. Tested specimens and extracted trabeculae were quantified for enzymatic and non-enzymatic crosslink content using a colorimetric assay and Ultra-high Performance Liquid Chromatography (UPLC). Results show that an increase in enzymatic crosslinks was beneficial for bone where they were associated with increased toughness and decreased microdamage. Conversely, bone with increased NEG required less strain to reach failure and were less tough. NEG heterogeneously modified trabecular microarchitecture where high amounts of NEG crosslinks were found in trabecular rods and with the mechanically deleterious form of microdamage (linear microcracks). The extent of NEG in tibial cancellous bone was the dominant predictor of bone fragility and was associated with changes in microarchitecture and microdamage.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere35047
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number4
StatePublished - 13 Apr 2012
Externally publishedYes


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