The University of Southampton
University of Southampton Institutional Repository

Osteopontin deficiency increases bone fragility but preserves bone mass

Thurner, Philipp J., Chen, Carol, Ionova-Martin, Sophi, Sun, Luling, Harman, Adam, Porter, Alexandra, Ager, Joel W.III, Ritchie, Robert O. and Alliston, Tamara (2010) Osteopontin deficiency increases bone fragility but preserves bone mass Bone, 46, (6), pp. 1564-1573. (doi:10.1016/j.bone.2010.02.014). (PMID:20171304).

Record type: Article


The ability of bone to resist catastrophic failure is critically dependent upon the material properties of bone matrix, a composite of hydroxyapatite, collagen type I, and noncollagenous proteins. These properties include elastic modulus, hardness, and fracture toughness. Like other aspects of bone quality, matrix material properties are biologically-defined and can be disrupted in skeletal disease. While mineral and collagen have been investigated in greater detail, the contribution of noncollagenous proteins such as osteopontin to bone matrix material properties remains unclear. Several roles have been ascribed to osteopontin in the bone, many of which have the potential to impact material properties. To elucidate the role of osteopontin in bone quality, we evaluated the structure, composition, and material properties of bone from osteopontin-deficient mice and wild-type littermates at several length scales. Most importantly, the results show that osteopontin deficiency causes a 30% decrease in fracture toughness, suggesting an important role for OPN in preventing crack propagation. This significant decline in fracture toughness is independent of changes in whole bone mass, structure, or matrix porosity. Using nanoindentation and quantitative backscattered electron imaging to evaluate osteopontin-deficient bone matrix at the micrometer level, we observed a significant reduction in elastic modulus and increased variability in calcium concentration. Matrix heterogeneity was also apparent at the ultrastructural level. In conclusion, we find that osteopontin is essential for the fracture toughness of bone, and reduced toughness in osteopontin-deficient bone may be related to the increased matrix heterogeneity observed at the micro-scale. By exploring the effects of osteopontin deficiency on bone matrix material properties, composition and organization, this study suggests that reduced fracture toughness is one mechanism by which loss of noncollagenous proteins contribute to bone fragility

Full text not available from this repository.

More information

Published date: June 2010
Keywords: osteopontin, rodent, fracture toughness, bone matrix properties, mineralization
Organisations: Bioengineering Sciences


Local EPrints ID: 79719
ISSN: 8756-3282
PURE UUID: fa178bc3-0f74-4d4d-a892-2c7ef57f9f41

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 19 Mar 2010
Last modified: 18 Jul 2017 23:16

Export record



Author: Carol Chen
Author: Sophi Ionova-Martin
Author: Luling Sun
Author: Adam Harman
Author: Alexandra Porter
Author: Joel W.III Ager
Author: Robert O. Ritchie
Author: Tamara Alliston

University divisions

Download statistics

Downloads from ePrints over the past year. Other digital versions may also be available to download e.g. from the publisher's website.

View more statistics

Atom RSS 1.0 RSS 2.0

Contact ePrints Soton:

ePrints Soton supports OAI 2.0 with a base URL of

This repository has been built using EPrints software, developed at the University of Southampton, but available to everyone to use.

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue without changing your settings, we will assume that you are happy to receive cookies on the University of Southampton website.