Structure and quantification of microvascularisation within mouse long bones: What and how should we measure?

Bernard Roche*, Valentin David, Arnaud Vanden-Bossche, Françoise Peyrin, Luc Malaval, Laurence Vico, Marie Hélène Lafage-Proust

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

68 Scopus citations


Bone marrow vascularisation is involved in both remodeling and hematopoïesis. Challenged mouse models often require imaging and quantitative assessment of blood vessels and bone cell activities for a better understanding of the role of the vascular system. In this study we compared images of mouse hind limb long bone vascularisation after infusion of either barium sulfate or lead chromate-loaded silicon. The images were then analyzed through histology as well as low-resolution and synchrotron-radiation microtomography. We show that barium sulfate infusion provides the best vessel images and furthermore, that it is compatible with staining procedures used in bone histomorphometry and CD31 immunohistochemistry. Bone marrow vascularisation displays large structural and spatial distribution heterogeneity, including large lobular clusters of sinusoids and an unexpectedly substantial amount of capillaries in the adipocytes-rich distal third of the tibia. For an unbiased assessment of bone vascular development/changes, these features must be taken into account. We describe the conditions under which the quantification of microvascularisation on histological sections of barium-infused long bones is reproducible, as applied to seven-month-old male C57/Bl6J and mixed CD1/129Sv/J mice, and we propose a nomenclature for the histological parameters measured. Finally, we validate our technique by studying the effect of ovariectomy on mouse tibial vascular density.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)390-399
Number of pages10
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2012


  • Baryum sulfate infusion
  • Bone microvascularisation
  • Histology
  • Vascular quantification
  • μCT

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Histology


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