Atomic force microscopy on human trabecular bone from an old woman with osteoporotic fractures

Tue Hassenkam, Henrik L Jørgensen, Morten Pedersen, Anette Holm Kourakis, Lene Simonsen, Jes B Lauritzen

23 Citations (Scopus)


AFM images were taken of the exterior surface of a single trabecula, extracted from a human femoral head removed during surgery for a hip fracture in an old women with former fractures. The images showed a dense structure of bundled collagen fibrils banded with 67 nm periodicity. Bundles were seen to run in parallel in layers confirming the collagen structure seen by other techniques. Single collagen fibrils were seen to cross the bundles, thus forming cross-links between neighboring bundles of collagen fibrils. Some of these crossing fibrils did not have the 67 nm band pattern and their dimensions were about half compared to the neighboring collagen fibrils. Very little mineral was found on the surface of the trabecula. An AFM image of a fracture plane was also displayed. The trabecula was extracted from a region close to the hip fracture. However, there were in this case no obvious features in the images that could be linked directly to osteoporosis, but altered collagen banding and collagen protrusions may alter mechanical competence. A path to extensive studies of the nanometer scale structure of bone was demonstrated.
Original languageEnglish
Issue number7-8
Pages (from-to)681-7
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - 2005


  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Bone Density
  • Bone and Bones
  • Collagen
  • Connective Tissue
  • Female
  • Femoral Fractures
  • Femur Head
  • Haversian System
  • Humans
  • Microscopy, Atomic Force
  • Osteoporosis
  • Proteoglycans


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