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M. Pilmane et al.
Investigation of Cow Bone Tissue Structure
Table 1
Characterization of cows’ humerus bone structure
Number of osteocytes,
Diameter of osteones,
Mean of bone density±SD,
g cm-2
20.30 ± 3.79
0.0668 ± 0.0183
43.00 ± 2.61
54.30 ± 5.66
0.1596 ± 0.0285
46.00 ± 5.23
0.1106 ± 0.0380
1985). The sow´s animal model was investigated
for postmenopausal osteoporosis (Scholz-Ahrens
et al., 1996). Before 1994, sheep were seldom used in
experimental studies regarding osteoporosis or other
skeletal pathologies. At present, this animal model
offers many advantages. It has been increasingly used
in orthopedic scientific research over the last 10 years.
Recent research suggests that sheep is a promising
model for osteoporosis studies and is suitable for the
evaluation of biomaterials and tissue biocompatibility
because of its dimension and bone characteristics
(Newman et al., 1995; Thorndike and Turner, 1998;
Bellino, 2000). However, materials about cow’s bone
morphology related to osteoporosis were not found in
the literature available to us.
Thus, the aim of the present work was to investigate
bone routine morphology in healthy dairy cows.
Materials and Methods
Humerus spongy bone from epiphysis in five
5-6 years old lactating cows were examined after
compulsory slaughtering of cows. Animals were
selected from productive stock with average milkyield 5000 kg per cow. Investigations were part of
the research project explaining cows’ metabolism
and morphological status of their organisms. Bone
specimens were fixed in 10Â % formaldehyde.
The Cutting-Grinding Technique for Hard Tissue
(described by Donath and Breuner, 1982) was used
for the dissection of bone tissue.
A bone mineral density test was used to measure
the density (strength) of cows’ bones.
Growth factors were used to detect cell growth
and cellular differentiation: bone morphogenetic
protein 2/4 (BMP 2/4, working dilution 1: 100, R and
D systems, UK) and fibroblast growth factor receptor
one (FGFR1, working dilution 1: 100, Abcam, UK).
Matrix metalloproteinases 2 and 9 were used to reveal
tissue degradation level (MMP2, working dilution
1: 100, R and D systems, UK) (MMP9, 1: 100, R
and D systems, UK) by employing Hsu et al. (1981)
biotin-streptavidin immunohistochemistry.
TUNEL method was used for detection of
apoptosis. The method was performed by employing
the In situ Cell Death Detection, POD cat.
No. 1684817 (Roche Diagnostics) in accordance with
Negoescu et al. (1998).
Also routine staining for haematoxylin and eosin
was performed for each case. Statistical correlations
were investigated between numbers of cells per
visual field by use of Leica DC 300F digital camera,
visualisation programme Image Pro Plus, and
progamme SPSS.
Bone fragments included spongy bone and
regions of articular cartilage. Spongy bone showed
thicker and thinner trabecules with a variable
number of osteocytes per mm2 in one and the same
animal. Mean cell number in spongy bone varied
from 20.30 ± 3.79 to 54.30 ± 5.66 per mm2 (Table
1). Interestingly, bones with lesser number of cells
per mm2 weres lesser changed in structure than
bone with larger number of cells per mm2. Osteones
were observed only in bone spicules of three cows
and presented a different diameter – from 0.0668
± 0.0183 to 0.1596 ± 0.0285 mm. Thereby in all
cases intensive proliferation of connective tissue
and small capillaries was seen in osteon channels
(Fig. 1). Also completely closed Haversian channels
were seen (Figs 2 and 3) and regions with granular,
optically intensively stained basophilic substance
were observed here and there (Fig. 2). Bone density
of these regions varied from 2206.45±714 to
3017.94±744 g cm-2 (Table 1). However, some bone
fragments contained exclusively small number of
osteocytes and absence of osteones. Interestingly,
thin bone trabecules contained smaller number of
osteocytes and scarce degenerative tissue of bone
marrow was observed among them (Fig. 3).
Fragments of articular cartilage seemed not
changed in routine histological sections.
Few BMP2/4-containing cells were detected in
articular cartilage in all animals and in main part of
LLU Raksti 18 (313), 2007; 51-57