Haversian systems or secondary osteons are an integral component of compact bone. However, as their exact shape is debatable, this study describes a technique to view their morphology in three dimensions. Bone remodeling in adult ovine long bones was labelled at intervals using a series of chelating fluorochromes. A series of longitudinal sections were cut at 25 μm intervals through blocks of the distal radius embedded in methylmethacrylate using a sledge macrotome. The chelating agents were used as markers of bone formation in the study of bone growth and osteon morphology. The two-dimensional image of each section was examined using an epifluorescence microscope. Images were transferred to a PC via a CCD low light colour video camera. Surface reference points were noted on each of the sections and, using computer software, a three-dimensional image of a refilling labelled osteon was reconstructed and its dimensions measured. Haversian systems may have a gentle spiral course along the longitudinal axis of the bone. They intertwine with adjacent osteons and give multiple branches along their course producing a complex pattern of organization. The mean labelled length and diameter of the osteons was 1.4 + 1 mm and 145 + 0.42 μm [Mean + S.D], respectively.
- 3D reconstruction
- Haversian systems
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences (miscellaneous)