Interspecies Comparison of Alveolar Bone Biology, Part I: Morphology and Physiology of Pristine Bone

I. Pilawski, U. S. Tulu, P. Ticha, P. Schüpbach, H. Traxler, Q. Xu, J. Pan, B. R. Coyac, X. Yuan, Y. Tian, Y. Liu, J. Chen, Y. Erdogan, M. Arioka, M. Armaro, M. Wu, J. B. Brunski, J. A. Helms

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


Introduction: Few interspecies comparisons of alveolar bone have been documented, and this knowledge gap raises questions about which animal models most accurately represent human dental conditions or responses to surgical interventions. Objectives: The objective of this study was to employ state-of-the-art quantitative metrics to directly assess and compare the structural and functional characteristics of alveolar bone among humans, mini pigs, rats, and mice. Methods: The same anatomic location (i.e., the posterior maxillae) was analyzed in all species via micro–computed tomographic imaging, followed by quantitative analyses, coupled with histology and immunohistochemistry. Bone remodeling was evaluated with alkaline phosphatase activity and tartrate-resistant acid phosphatase staining to identify osteoblast and osteoclast activities. In vivo fluorochrome labeling was used as a means to assess mineral apposition rates. Results: Collectively, these analyses demonstrated that bone volume differed among the species, while bone mineral density was equal. All species showed a similar density of alveolar osteocytes, with a highly conserved pattern of collagen organization. Collagen maturation was equal among mouse, rat, and mini pig. Bone remodeling was a shared feature among the species, with morphologically indistinguishable hemiosteonal appearances, osteocytic perilacunar remodeling, and similar mineral apposition rates in alveolar bone. Conclusions: Our analyses demonstrated equivalencies among the 4 species in a plurality of the biological features of alveolar bone. Despite contradictory results from older studies, we found no evidence for the superiority of pig models over rodent models in representing human bone biology. Knowledge Transfer Statement: Animal models are extensively used to evaluate bone tissue engineering strategies, yet there are few state-of-the-art studies that rigorously compare and quantify the factors influencing selection of a given animal model. Consequently, there is an urgent need to assess preclinical animal models for their predictive value to dental research. Our article addresses this knowledge gap and, in doing so, provides a foundation for more effective standardization among animal models commonly used in dentistry.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)352-360
Number of pages9
JournalJDR Clinical and Translational Research
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Dentistry(all)


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