Human femoral neck has less cellular periosteum, and more mineralized periosteum, than femoral diaphyseal bone

Matthew R. Allen, David B. Burr

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

29 Scopus citations


Periosteal expansion enhances bone strength and is controlled by osteogenic cells of the periosteum. The extent of cellular periosteum at the human femoral neck, a clinically relevant site, is unclear. This study was designed to histologically evaluate the human femoral neck periosteal surface. Femoral neck samples from 11 male and female cadavers (ages 34-88) were histologically assessed and four periosteal surface classifications (cellular periosteum, mineralizing periosteum, cartilage, and mineralizing cartilage) were quantified. Femoral mid-diaphysis samples from the same cadavers were used as within-specimen controls. The femoral neck surface had significantly less (P < 0.05) cellular periosteum (18.4 ± 9.7%) compared to the femoral diaphysis (59.2 ± 13.8%). A significant amount of the femoral neck surface was covered by mineralizing periosteal tissue (20-70%). These data may provide an alternate explanation for the apparent femoral neck periosteal expansion with age and suggest the efficiency of interventions that stimulate periosteal expansion may be reduced, albeit still possible, at the femoral neck of humans.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)311-316
Number of pages6
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2005



  • Calcification
  • Histomorphometry-human
  • Periosteal expansion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Hematology

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