Cortical bone relationships are maintained regardless of sex and diet in a large population of LGXSM advanced intercross mice

Nicole Migotsky, Michael D. Brodt, James M. Cheverud, Matthew J. Silva

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Introduction: Knowledge of bone structure-function relationships in mice has been based on relatively small sample sets that limit generalizability. We sought to investigate structure-function relationships of long bones from a large population of genetically diverse mice. Therefore, we analyzed previously published data from the femur and radius of male and female mice from the F34 generation of the Large-by-Small advanced intercross line (LGXSM AI), which have over a two-fold continuous spread of bone and body sizes (Silva et al. 2019 JBMR). Methods: Morphological traits, mechanical properties, and estimated material properties were collected from the femur and radius from 1113 LGXSM AI adult mice (avg. age 25 wks). Males and females fed a low-fat or high-fat diet were evaluated to increase population variation. The data were analyzed using principal component analysis (PCA), Pearson's correlation, and multivariate linear regression. Results: Using PCA groupings and hierarchical clustering, we identified a reduced set of traits that span the population variation and are relatively independent of each other. These include three morphometry parameters (cortical area, medullary area, and length), two mechanical properties (ultimate force and post-yield displacement), and one material property (ultimate stress). When comparing traits of the femur to the radius, morphological traits are moderately well correlated (r2: 0.18–0.44) and independent of sex and diet. However, mechanical and material properties are weakly correlated or uncorrelated between the long bones. Ultimate force can be predicted from morphology with moderate accuracy for both long bones independent of variations due to genetics, sex, or diet; however, predictions miss up to 50 % of the variation in the population. Estimated material properties in the femur are moderately to strongly correlated with bone size parameters, while these correlations are very weak in the radius. Discussion: Our results indicate that variation in cortical bone phenotype in the F34 LGXSM AI mouse population can be adequately described by a reduced set of bone traits. These traits include cortical area, medullary area, bone length, ultimate force, post-yield displacement, and ultimate stress. The weak correlation of mechanical and material properties between the femur and radius indicates that the results from routine three-point bending tests of one long bone (e.g., femur) may not be generalizable to another long bone (e.g., radius). Additionally, these properties could not be fully predicted from bone morphology alone, confirming the importance of mechanical testing. Finally, material properties of the femur estimated based on beam theory equations showed a strong dependence on geometry that was not seen in the radius, suggesting that differences in femur size within a study may confound interpretation of estimated material properties.

Original languageEnglish
Article number101615
JournalBone Reports
StatePublished - Dec 2022


  • Biomechanics
  • Dimensional reduction
  • Material properties
  • Mechanical properties
  • Micro-computed tomography
  • Morphology


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