2005 Volume 68 Issue 2 Pages 103-113
To understand the bone resorption process on the basis of the morphology of bone resorption lacunae, the inner surface of parietal bones in juvenile mice was exposed with a treatment of ultrasonic waves or NaOCl treatment and examined by scanning electron microscopy (SEM).
The bone resorption lacunae were divided into two types (I and II) according to differences in morphological features of their walls; the wall of type I lacunae was covered with loose collagen fibrils, while that of type II lacunae was smooth with almost no fibrillar structures. Collagen fibrils in type I lacunae treated with ultrasonic waves differed in appearance from those treated with NaOCl; the collagen fibrils were thin and displayed a smooth surface in type I lacunae treated with ultrasonic waves, while they were thick and showed a rough surface in those treated with NaOCl—probably because superficial uncalcified collagen fibrils were digested with the chemical. The results indicated that type I lacunae occupied 77% of all of the bone resorption lacunae treated with ultrasonic waves, but 51% of those treated with NaOCl. This finding led to the idea that type I lacunae can be subdivided into two: lacunae (Ia), covered with partially calcified fibrils as well as superficial uncalcified fibrils; and lacunae (Ib), covered only with uncalcified fibrils. The presence of uncalcified fibrils in the bone resorption lacunae was further confirmed by backscattered electron (BSE) imaging of SEM.
Histochemistry for acid phosphatase or immuno-histochemistry for cathepsin B or carbonic anhydrase in combination with SEM revealed that type I lacunae were located under osteoclasts but type II lacunae were not. These findings indicate that type I lacunae are in the process of bone resorption by osteoclasts, while type II lacunae are in the final stage of bone resorption and free from osteoclasts. Bone resorption may thus proceed in the order of Ia, Ib, and II.