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By use of the light microscope and fresh, mineralized cross-sections of human rib, the total cross-sectional areas and the Haversian canal areas were measured separately in 615 actively forming osteons. By performance of several normalizations and transformations on these data, a curve was obtained which plotted the changing size of the radius (of the Haversian canal as the osteon forms) against the time taken to make a new osteon. The first derivative of this curve was then taken, giving a curve which plotted the changing rate of radial closure against the time taken to make an osteon. In normal ribs taken from individuals aged 15 to 60 years, the radial rate of osteon closure proved to be approximately constant over the central 85 per cent of the closure time. Therefore, measurements of tetracycline or other markers of new bone formation that are deposited in vivo should be confined to this central portion of the osteon wall (or of the equivalent layer of trabecular or circumferential lamellar bone). The use of this restriction should permit meaningful comparisons of diseased bone with a norm.
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Accepted: July 27, 1964
Received: May 8, 1964
☆This study was supported by Grants 293, Henry Ford Hospital, and AM-04186, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Md.
© 1964 Published by Elsevier Inc.