B. Lawrence Riggs, M.D.
Jennifer Jowsey, Ph.D.
Patrick J. Kelly, M.D.
In the Department of Orthopedics, measurements at the tissue level had its beginnings in 1950s with the use of microradiography to study circulation in skeletal tissue. This same microradiograph is still in use today. In the 1960s, B. Lawrence Riggs, M.D. and Jennifer Jowsey, Ph.D., conducted groundbreaking work on the use of tissue measurements to diagnose metabolic bone disease.
Tetracycline labeling was used in this early work to confirm measurements of bone formation; currently, the use of fluorochrome bone labeling is mandatory to assess any impact on bone growth or turnover (see image of tetracycline labeling in normal biopsy). Today, the preparation and quantification of iliac crest biopsies are routinely conducted in Orthopedics in the Bone Histo Lab. Over its 20+ year history, the lab has prepared and measured over 5000 human biopsies.
The lab is associated with the Mayo Bone Disease Core Group, within which is a team of endocrinologists who are specialists in bone histomorphometry. These members (see staff affiliations) analyze and interpret the histological slides of human tissue. One such member of the Bone Core Group, Dr. Stephen J. Hodgson, M.D. (emeritus) published in 1986 a report on the outpatient percutaneous biopsy of the iliac crest. This is a major reference for physicians and surgeons who wish to obtain an iliac crest biopsy for bone histomorphometry.
Besides the clinical applications, Mayo Orthopedic Research has long recognized the need for a centralized resource for the laboratory's unique technical skill. The first Director of the Orthopedics Bone Histomorphometry lab, Dr. Patrick J. Kelly, M.D. (Orthopedics), spearheaded the use of a core lab facility to support observations made directly in tissue. The Bone Histomorphometry Lab has an expertise in plastic embedding, thin-sectioning, staining and histomorphometry of musculoskeletal tissue. By offering this laboratory service to investigators both within and outside of Orthopedics, the researcher bypasses some of the expense and technical issues associated with hard tissue histology. The laboratory provides an expertise in bone physiology, the technical skill with specialized microtomes and carbide-steel knives, and the availability of microscopes and image analysis systems.