In Vivo Calvarial Bone Cell Responses to Dietary Perturbations and the Implications for Mineral Homeostasis

Chung Ching Liu, Mary Evacko, Guy A. Howard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Calvariae from small animals have been an important source for in vitro studies of bone. However, few in vivo studies have been undertaken on quantitative cell changes in calvariae. In the present study of mineral perturbations, rats were first deprived of calcium. After 18 days endosteal osteoclasts and nuclei/osteoclast in the parietal bone had increased 120% (P < 0.001) and 26% (P < 0.001), respectively, the marrow space had increased 141% (P < 0.001), and the bone area experienced a 49% decrease (P < 0.001). This thinning and weakening of the calvaria was accompanied by a compensatory increase in the number of endosteal osteoblasts (297%, P < 0.001). These rats were then replenished with calcium, and after 14 days the number of endosteal osteoclasts had decreased to 86% (P < 0.001) below the control and the endosteal surface was almost completely covered by osteoblasts (866% above the control, P < 0.001). Bone area was increased by 51% (P < 0.01). Similarly, in calcium-deficient rats in the tibial diaphysis at the fibular junction, the number of endosteal osteoclasts and the medullary space increased 1606% (P < 0.001) and 63% (P < 0.001), respectively, which were accompanied by a 32% decrease (P < 0.001) in cortical bone area. After calcium replenishment, most endosteal osteoclasts in the tibial diaphysis diappeared from the endosteal surface and were replaced by osteoblasts (increased 487%, P < 0.001). These results indicate that changes in bone cell activity in response to calcium deficiency are similar in calvariae and long bones, and that mobilization of calcium from the calvaria during calcium deficiency occurs at the expense of the protective action of the calvaria. Therefore, long bones as well as membranous bones are apparently important for the maintenance of mineral homeostasis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)385-392
Number of pages8
JournalProceedings of the Society for Experimental Biology and Medicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1989
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)


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