Journal Published Online: 01 March 1999
Volume 44, Issue 2

Iliac Cancellous Bone in Drug Addicts: A Histomorphometric Study



Histomorphometry was used to determine structural bone changes in drug addicts. Iliac crest bone biopsies were obtained at autopsy from 28 subjects (21 male, 7 female, aged 18 to 45 years) who had a history of drug abuse and had died due to overdose of illicit drugs. For histomorphometry, undecalcified sections were investigated using the Merz grid. The following histomorphometric indices were measured and calculated: BV/TV, BS/BV, Tb.Th, Tb.N, Tb.Sp, OV/TV, OS/BS, Ob.S/BS, O.Th, ES/BS, Oc.S/BS, and N.Oc/T.A. In 28 controls (24 male, 4 female, aged 17 to 47 years) trabecular bone specimens were investigated in the same way. The parameters in drug addicts did not show any correlation to age, body weight, height or sex differences. Trabecular bone volume and trabecular thickness were slightly but not significantly increased (BV/TV: 23.37 ± 5.77% (mean, SD), controls 22.23 ± 5.08%, p = 0.434; Tb.Th: 172.67 ± 36.83 mcm, controls 169.73 ± 36.13 mcm, p = 0.764). Only the eroded surface was significantly different to the controls (ES/BS: 8.16 ± 2.04%, controls 6.96 ± 2.17%, p = 0.038). We conclude that the incidence of metabolic bone disease in drug addicts is low.

Author Information

Schiwy-Bochat, K-H
Institute of Forensic Medicine, Aachen University of Technology, Aachen, Germany
Lemke, R
Institute of Forensic Medicine, Aachen University of Technology, Aachen, Germany
Pages: 4
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Stock #: JFS14448J
ISSN: 0022-1198
DOI: 10.1520/JFS14448J