A temporary decrease in mineral density in perinatal mouse long bones

A. Sharir, J. Milgram, G. Dubnov-Raz, E. Zelzer*, R. Shahar

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Fetal and postnatal bone development in humans is traditionally viewed as a process characterized by progressively increasing mineral density. Yet, a temporary decrease in mineral density has been described in the long bones of infants in the immediate postnatal period. The mechanism that underlies this phenomenon, as well as its causes and consequences, remain unclear. Using daily μCT scans of murine femora and tibiae during perinatal development, we show that a temporary decrease in tissue mineral density (TMD) is evident in mice. By monitoring spatial and temporal structural changes during normal growth and in a mouse strain in which osteoclasts are non-functional (Src-null), we show that endosteal bone resorption is the main cause for the perinatal decrease in TMD. Mechanical testing revealed that this temporary decrease is correlated with reduced stiffness of the bones. We also show, by administration of a progestational agent to pregnant mice, that the decrease in TMD is not the result of parturition itself. This study provides a comprehensive view of perinatal long bone development in mice, and describes the process as well as the consequences of density fluctuation during this period.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)197-205
Number of pages9
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2013

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank N. Konstantin for expert editorial assistance; S. Krief for expert technical support; all members of the R.S and E.Z. laboratories for advice and suggestions; B. Pasmantirer for designing the mechanical testing apparatus; V. Brumfeld, J. Meganck and T. Raz for reviewing the manuscript and making helpful comments; and T. Bdolah-Abram for statistical help. The electron microscopy studies were conducted at the Irving and Cherna Moskowitz Center for Nano and Bio-Nano Imaging at the Weizmann Institute of Science. This work was supported by grants from the Israel Science Foundation ( 1206/09 and 151/08 ), The Leo and Julia Forchheimer Center for Molecular Genetics , and Marla L. Schaefer, New York, NY, USA . E.Z. is the incumbent of the Martha S. Sagon Career Development Chair.


  • Bone development
  • Mineral density
  • Mineralization
  • Osteoclasts
  • μCT


Dive into the research topics of 'A temporary decrease in mineral density in perinatal mouse long bones'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this