SEM and TEM study of the hierarchical structure of C57BL/6J and C3H/HeJ mice trabecular bone

Matthew A. Rubin, Janet Rubin, Iwona Jasiuk

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Transmission electron microscopy (TEM) and scanning electron microscopy (SEM) were used to study the hierarchical structure of trabecular bone from C57BL/6J (low bone mass) and C3H/HeJ mice (high bone mass). Bone was harvested from two different anatomical locations: femoral metaphysis and L5 vertebra. This investigation focused on three structural scales: the mesostructural (porous network of trabecular struts), the microstructural (collagen fibril arrangements in trabecular packets), and the nanostructural (collagen fibril and apatite crystals) levels. At the mesostructural level, no distinct differences were found in the trabecular structure of femoral metaphysis but thinner trabecular struts were observed in L5 vertebra for C57BL/6J mice strain. At the microstructural level, the collagen fibrils forming the rotated, twisted, and orthogonal plywood arrangements were distinguished as well as atypical arrangements. At the nanostructural level, the shape and size of apatite crystals, and their arrangement with respect to collagen fibrils were studied. In spite of very different bone mass densities, both mice strains had similar structures at the nanostructural and microstructural levels.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)11-20
Number of pages10
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Bone hierarchical structure
  • C3H/HeJ and C57/6J mice
  • Scanning electron microscopy
  • Trabecular bone
  • Transmission electron microscopy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Hematology


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