Bone Histomorphometry Core Laboratory

The Bone Histomorphometry Core Laboratory provides histomorphometric analyses of non-decalcified bone specimens, including processing mouse bone specimens for non-decalcified histology and performing static and dynamic histomorphometric analyses of mouse bone specimens. The service is performed on a subsidized fee-for-service basis.

The function of the Bone Histomorphometry core is to perform histomorphometric analyses of non-decalcified bone specimens.

Processing mouse bone specimen for non-decalcified histology. Fixed and partially dehydrated mouse skeleton is provided by project investigators to the Core. These samples are embedded in plastic medium, sectioned and stained. Contact Michael Starbuck,, for more information on the protocol for proper sample preparation.

Performing static and dynamic histomorphometric analyses of mouse bone specimen. Using the Osteomeasure analytic system and the Bioquant Osteo II system, static parameters such as bone volume, trabecular number and cell counts as well as dynamic parameters of bone formation such as mineral apposition rates are quantified on non-decalcified bone sections. The core provides investigators with the data and will help them in evaluating their biological relevance.

About Bone Histomorphometry Core Laboratory

Toluidine Blue Stain 40Purpose
To provide the faculty affiliated with the Bone Disease Program of Texas with high quality bone histomorphometry processing; analysis of the skeleton of genetically modified mice and tumor-bearing bones, and micro-CT analysis of bone specimens.

Nora Navone, M.D., Ph.D., directs the histormophometry core laboratory under the scientific oversight of the Bone Disease Program director and co-director. Navone has an established research laboratory currently focused on the metastasis of prostate cancer cells in bone. Navone provides direction for the core laboratory and its personnel.

The laboratory is managed by Michael Starbuck, M.S. Starbuck trained in the laboratory of Gerard Karsenty, M.D., Ph.D., at Baylor College of Medicine and moved to MD Anderson in 2006. He has six years of experience in bone sampling and bone analysis. Starbuck coordinates scheduling and performs analysis.

Quality Control
The members of the Core have experience with all of the techniques listed as services to be provided. The Osteomeasure system includes digitalization of the histologic sections to be analyzed and their projection on a computer monitor, allowing easy evaluation of their quality. The analysis of wild-type littermates along with each new batch of genetically modified animals provides an internal quality control for and between each experiment. Likewise, the simultaneous analysis of the injected and non-injected contralateral bones in the in vivo intraosseous tumor cell injection provides a reliable internal quality control.

It is estimated that the initial processing and basic histomorphometric analysis can have a turn around of one month per 60 samples analyzed (approximately six blocks sectioned/day and six specimens analyzed for basic parameters/day). Additional cell (osteoblast and osteoclast numbers) and dynamic parameters measurements (bone formation and mineral apposition rates) can be done at a rate of 30 animals per month per type of measurement (three specimens/day/parameter). In this setting, we estimate that the core will be able to process and analyze 600 samples/year for basic parameters or 240 samples/year for full scale analysis.