Bone remodeling compartments (BRCs) were recently recognized to be present in patients with primary hyperparathyroidism and critical for bone reconstruction in multiple myeloma and endogenous Cushing's syndrome. The BRCs are outlined by a cellular canopy separating the bone remodeling events on the bone surface from the marrow cavity. The present study on human iliac crest biopsy specimens reveals that BRC canopies appear frequently absent above both eroded and formative surfaces in post-menopausal osteoporosis patients, and that this absence was associated with bone loss in these patients. The absence of BRC canopies above the eroded surfaces was furthermore associated with the accumulation of arrested reversal surfaces and a reduced extent of formative surfaces, which both reflect an increased incidence of aborted remodeling cycles. Moreover, the absence of BRC canopies above formative surfaces was associated with a shift in the osteoblast morphological characteristics, from cuboidal to flattened. Collectively, this study shows that the BRCs are unique anatomical structures implicated in bone remodeling in a widespread disease, such as post-menopausal osteoporosis. Furthermore, it particularly highlights the role of the BRC canopies to make the reversal phase progressing toward initiation of matrix deposition, thereby preventing bone loss.
American Journal of Pathology, 2014, Vol 184, Issue 4, p. 1142-1151