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Metabolic bone disorders such as rickets are associated with altered in vivo muscular force distributions on the skeletal system. During development, these altered forces can potentially affect the spatial and temporal dynamics of mineralised tissue formation, but the exact mechanisms are not known. Here we have used a murine model of hypophosphatemic rickets (Hpr) to study the development of the mineralised nanostructure in the intramembranously ossifying scapulae (shoulder bone). Using position-resolved scanning small angle X-ray scattering (SAXS), we quantified the degree and direction of mineral nanocrystallite alignment over the width of the scapulae, from the load bearing lateral border (LB) regions to the intermediate infraspinous fossa (IF) tissue. These measurements revealed a significant (p<0.05) increase in mineral nanocrystallite alignment in the LB when compared to the IF region, with increased tissue maturation in wild-type mice; this was absent in mice with rickets. The crystallites were more closely aligned to the macroscopic bone boundary in the LB when compared to the IF region in both wild type and Hpr mice, but the degree of alignment was reduced in Hpr mice. These findings are consistent with a correlation between the nanocrystallites within fibrils and in vivo muscular forces. Thus our results indicate a relevant mechanism for the observed increased macroscopic deformability in rickets, via a significant alteration in the mineral particle alignment, which is mediated by an altered spatial distribution of muscle forces.

Original publication




Journal article



Publication Date





553 - 562


Aging, Animals, Crystallization, Familial Hypophosphatemic Rickets, Mice, Minerals, Nanoparticles, Scapula, Scattering, Small Angle, Synchrotrons, X-Ray Diffraction