Measurement of gene expression following cryogenic μ-CT scanning of human iliac crest biopsies

A. Maran, S. Khosla, B. L. Riggs, M. Zhang, E. L. Ritman, Russell T. Turner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


An important consideration in interpreting indices of gene expression in human bone is relating mRNA levels to functional endpoints such as bone architecture. In the present study, a method was developed for quantitative measurement of gene expression and bone morphology in the same specimen. Three-dimensional images of iliac crest bone biopsies from healthy premenopausal women were obtained using a novel high resolution cryogenic μ-CT scanner. RNA was isolated from the biopsies and mRNA levels were measured for genes related to bone metabolism. The gene expression profile and variability of expression within iliac crest biopsies of women was similar to human osteoblastic cell lines and rat long bones. mRNA for alkaline phosphatase, bone matrix proteins, and selected cytokines and cytokine receptors were consistently detected in biopsies. As previously shown in rat bone, there was a tight correlation between mRNA levels for type 1 collagen and osteonectin, a weaker correlation between type 1 collagen and osteocalcin and no correlation between bone matrix proteins and alkaline phosphatase. The relative abundance of the mRNA for the three most prevalent transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β) isoforms in bone (TGF-β1> > TGF-β3> TGF-β2) was the same as the known abundance of the corresponding TGF-β peptides in bone matrix. The results demonstrate the feasibility of analyzing the three-dimensional architecture of a bone biopsy using cryogenic μ-CT imaging and then measuring expression of genes related to bone cell function within the same specimen following RNA extraction and analysis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)83-88
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Musculoskeletal Neuronal Interactions
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1 2003


  • Bone morphology
  • Cytokines and growth factors
  • Matrix proteins
  • mRNA

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Physiology
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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