Regulation of bone volume is different in the metaphyses of the femur and vertebra of C3H/HeJ and C57BL/6J mice.

Document Type


Publication Date



Comparative-Study, Female, Femur, Lumbar-Vertebrae, Mice, Mice-Inbred-C3H, Mice-Inbred-C57BL, Osteogenesis, Species-Specificity, SUPPORT-U-S-GOVT-NON-P-H-S, SUPPORT-U-S-GOVT-P-H-S

JAX Source

Bone 2002 Mar; 30(3):486-91.33




The C3H/HeJ (C3H) mice exhibited a greater bone formation rate (BFR) and a greater mineral apposition rate (MAR) in the cortical bone of the midshafts of the femur and tibia than did C57BL/6J (B6) mice. This study sought to determine if these strain-related differences would also be observed in cancellous bone. Metaphyses of the femur and lumbar vertebra (L5-6) from C3H and B6 mice, 6 and 12 weeks of age, were analyzed by histomorphometry. Similar to cortical bone, the bone volume in the femoral metaphysis of C3H mice was greater (by 54% and 65%, respectively) than that of B6 mice at both 6 and 12 weeks of age. Higher BFR and mineral apposition rate (MAR) contributed to the higher bone volume in the C3H mice compared with the B6 mice. In contrast, bone volume (by 59% and 13%, respectively, p < 0.001) and trabecular number (by 55% and 35%, respectively, p < 0.001) in the vertebrae were lower in the C3H mice than in B6 mice at 6 and 12 weeks of age. At 6 weeks of age, MAR was higher (by 43%, p = 0.004) in C3H mice, but because of a low trabecular number, the BFR (by 37%, p = 0.026) and tetracycline-labeled bone surface (by 52%, p < 0.001) per tissue were lower in the vertebrae of C3H mice than B6 mice. The low bone volume in vertebrae of C3H mice was probably not due to a higher bone resorption, because the osteoclast number (by 55%, p < 0.001) and eroded surface (by 61%, p <0.001) per tissue area in the C3H mice were also lower in B6 mice. At 12 weeks, the trabecular thickness had increased (by 36%, p < 0.001) in the C3H mice and the difference in bone volume between strains was less than that at 6 weeks. These contrasting and apparently opposing strain-related differences in trabecular bone parameters between femur and vertebra in these two mouse strains suggest that the genetic regulation of bone volume in the metaphyses of different skeletal sites is different between C3H and B6 mice.