TEM analysis of the nanostructure of normal and osteoporotic human trabecular bone

Matthew A. Rubin, Iwona Jasiuk, Jeannette Taylor, Janet Rubin, Timothy Ganey, Robert P. Apkarian

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Transmission electron microscopy (TEM) was used to investigate the crystal-collagen interactions in normal and osteoporotic human trabecular bone at the nanostructural level. More specifically, two-dimensional TEM observations were used to infer the three-dimensional information on the shape, the size, the orientation, and the alignment of apatite crystals in collagen fibrils in normal and osteoporotic bone. We found that crystals were of platelet shape with irregular edges and that there was no substantial difference in crystal length or crystal thickness between normal and osteoporotic trabecular bone. The crystal arrangement in cross-sectioned fibrils did not neatly conform to the parallel arrangement of crystals seen in longitudinally-sectioned fibrils. Instead, the crystal arrangement in both normal and osteoporotic trabecular bone took on more of a random, undulated arrangement, with certain localized areas demonstrating circular oriented patterns. The TEM imaging was done using bright fields only. Thus, the results presented are within the limitations of this approach.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)270-282
Number of pages13
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1 2003
Externally publishedYes


  • Apatite crystals
  • Collagen fibrils
  • Nanostructure
  • Normal bone
  • Osteoporotic Bone
  • Trabecular bone
  • Transmission electron microscopy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Hematology


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