Abnormal lacuno-canalicular network and negative correlation between serum osteocalcin and Cobb angle indicate abnormal osteocyte function in adolescent idiopathic scoliosis.
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Adolescent idiopathic scoliosis (AIS) is a prevalent spinal deformity occurring during peripubertal growth period that affects 1-4% of adolescents globally without clear etiopathogenetic mechanism. Low bone mineral density is an independent and significant prognostic factor for curve progression. Currently, the cause underlying low bone mass in AIS remains elusive. Osteocytes play an important role in bone metabolism and mineral homeostasis, but its role in AIS has not been studied. In the present study, iliac bone tissues were harvested from 21 patients with AIS (mean age of 14.3 2.20 yr old) with a mean Cobb angle of 55.6 10.61 and 13 non-AIS controls (mean age of 16.5 4.79 yr old) intraoperatively. Acid-etched scanning electron microscopy (SEM) images of AIS demonstrated abnormal osteocytes that were more rounded and cobblestone-like in shape and were aligned in irregular clusters with shorter and disorganized canaliculi. Further quantitative analysis with FITC-Imaris technique showed a significant reduction in the canalicular number and length as well as an increase in lacunar volume and area in AIS. SEM with energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy analysis demonstrated a lower calcium-to-phosphorus ratio at the perilacunar/canalicular region. Moreover, microindentaion results revealed lower values of Vickers hardness and elastic modulus in AIS when compared with controls. In addition, in the parallel study of 99 AIS (27 with severe Cobb angle of 65.8 14.1 and 72 with mild Cobb angle of 26.6 9.1) with different curve severity, the serum osteocalcin level was found to be significantly and negatively associated with the Cobb angle. In summary, the findings in this series of studies demonstrated the potential link of abnormal osteocyte lacuno-canalicular network structure and function to the observed abnormal bone mineralization in AIS, which may shed light on etiopathogenesis of AIS.-Chen, H., Zhang, J., Wang, Y., Cheuk, K.-Y., Hung, A. L. H., Lam, T.-P., Qiu, Y., Feng, J. Q., Lee, W. Y. W., Cheng, J. C. Y. Abnormal lacuno-canalicular network and negative correlation between serum osteocalcin and Cobb angle indicate abnormal osteocyte function in adolescent idiopathic scoliosis.