Three-dimensional hierarchical structure of female Sprague-Dawley rat tibia cortical bone was characterized as a function of age (3, 12, 32, 42, 60, and 72 wk) using a high-resolution micro-computed tomography. At the whole bone level, 3-wk samples exhibited statistically significant differences in a mean total tissue volume, mean cortical bone volume, mean cortical bone volume density, mean periosteal perimeter, and mean cortical thickness (P < 0.05) compared with all other ages. At the tissue level, there was a statistically significant increase in a mean canal number density and a decrease in a mean canal volume and diameter between 3-wk and 12-wk samples. While no significant variations were found between mean canal lengths, there was dependence of mean canal orientation on age. At the cell level, there were no statistically significant differences in a lacuna number density and a lacuna volume density, and all lacunae element-based parameters displayed no dependence on age across age. In addition, at the microstructural level, the cannular indexes were reported separately for anterior, posterior, medial, and lateral anatomic regions. From 3 32 wk of age, there existed significantly fewer canals per volume of bone in the medial region of the tibia vs. other cross-sectional quadrants. Although there were changes with age, there were no statistically significant differences in the mean canal volume, mean canal diameter, and mean canal length between the four anatomic regions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)923-933
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Applied Physiology
Issue number7
StatePublished - Apr 1 2013


  • Bone's hierarchical structure
  • Canal network
  • Cortical bone
  • High-resolution micro-computed tomography
  • Osteocyte lacunae

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)


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