Laboratory Facilities

Bone histomorphometry

People sectioning tissue for histological slides

The Bone Histomorphometry Lab staff sectioning tissue for preparation of histological slides.

Bone histomorphometry is the benchmark for evaluating complex metabolic bone disorders and for assessing the effects of skeletally active agents. A bone biopsy with histomorphometry is essential for the evaluation of new drugs for osteoporosis or other metabolic bone diseases. The information from histomorphometry complements data from other techniques, such as bone density measurements or bone turnover markers, and provides data that cannot be acquired using other methods. While bone turnover markers are routinely used in clinical trials, the most definitive method for assessing bone turnover remains the bone biopsy with assessment of bone formation rates, eroded surfaces, osteoblast, and osteoclast numbers.

Micro-CT instrument

The bone histomorphometry lab has recently purchased and validated a high resolution computed tomography (micro-CT) instrument. Micro-CT is a non-destructive method to image complex 3D structures. In biomedical engineering research, it is best suited for imaging bone, although special techniques can be used to image soft tissues as well. The ScanCo. Micro-CT 35 is used for in vitro measurements that can be used to obtain 3D bone images, or any other materials that can be penetrated by X-rays. The micro-CT provides sequential 2D slice images. These sequential slices form a detailed (resolution to 3.5 micron) 3D image which can also be used in analysis. Animations of these 3D images allow further qualitative assessment.

Experience and expertise

The Bone Histomorphometry Core Laboratory provides validated bone histomorphometry services in accordance with American Society for Bone Mineral Research (ASBMR) nomenclature for the diagnosis and management of metabolic bone disorders.

Lab workThroughout its more then 20 year history, the Bone Histomorphometry Core Laboratory has prepared and measured more than 5,000 human biopsies. Today, the preparation and quantification of iliac crest biopsies are routinely conducted.

Research for drug and device development

Evaluations at the tissue level are critical to musculoskeletal research. The Bone Histomorphometry Core Laboratory has a rich history of conducting such evaluations in both human and animal tissue. The primary expertise of the laboratory is the processing of skeletal tissue in its calcified state for the preparation of histology slides.

Quantification of skeletal parameters in these tissue sections can be performed with a bone-specific image analysis system (OsteoMeasure™). Being able to assess bone volume and Bone Histomorphometryformation rates, and how they are regulated, can lead to the identification of skeletal pathologies and the evaluation of potential countermeasures.

Clinically validated services

A unique database, the Rochester Epidemiology Project, provides gender-specific normal reference ranges for iliac crest biopsies using specimens obtained from both females and males with healthy bone metabolism. Because of this, the laboratory can provide gender-specific “normal” reference values and Z-scores for any human bone biopsy of the iliac crest that is processed and quantified by the Bone Histomorphometry Core Laboratory.

State of the art equipment and facilities

The Bone Histomorphometry Core Laboratory occupies more than 1,000 square feet. The laboratory has the capacity to process and section a full range of calcified tissues, including tissues containing metal implants. It performs standard stains for bone and cartilage and analyzes fluorochrome labeled tissue. The laboratory is equipped with two dedicated OsteoMeasure™ Histomorphometry Systems (OsteoMetrics™, Inc.). These systems are used by trained laboratory personnel to generate static and dynamic histomorphometric data based on ASBMR standardized nomenclature and formula.