Date of Award


Degree Name

MS in Biomedical Engineering


Biomedical and General Engineering


Scott Hazelwood


The purpose of this study is to further quantify adult ovine ovariectomized bone for new remodeling characteristics to obtain a better understanding of how remodeling is occurring and the effectiveness of this animal model for the study of postmenopausal osteoporosis. Postmenopausal osteoporosis is a major health concern and animal models to test new treatment options are needed. The ovine model is a good option because the ewes undergo Haversian remodeling, are a large sized animal, and have a similar hormone profile to humans. Ewes, however, do not undergo a natural menopause, so an ovariectomy surgery was conducted in the sheep to simulate the decreased levels in estrogen. Columbia-Rambouillet sheep were used in this study: some that have been ovariectomized as a model for postmenopausal osteoporosis and some that underwent a sham surgery to serve as a control. The sheep were sacrificed 12 months post operatively in the month of August, so the seasonal effects of remodeling were accounted for. The left radius was then processed into microradiographs of 6 regional cortical beams, where the cranial (tensile side) and caudal (compressive side) anatomical sections were analyzed in this study to determine regional differences in remodeling. Previous students’ theses have analyzed the similar samples for basic bone remodeling histology measurements, resulting in some significant seasonal, anatomical, and treatment differences. However, most of the results showed no particular increase in the amount of remodeled area for the ovariectomized sheep compared to the sham sheep, even though an ovariectomy is believed to cause a burst of remodeling in bone due to the decreased levels in estrogen.

In this study, a new repeatable method was developed that further examines secondary bone by quantifying the extent to which secondary osteons encroach on previously-existing secondary osteons. Encroached and unencroached secondary osteons were quantified using two different methods: a point count method that measured the percentage of the area the encroached and unencroached secondary osteons inhabited and an osteon count method that measured the number of encroached and unencroached secondary osteons per area. These raw measurements were calculated into 18 parameters and 2-way repeated measures ANOVAs were run to determine the effects of surgery and anatomical region on each of the bone remodeling parameters. The results found significant effects from estrogen deletion which were different depending on if the bone region was predominately in compression or tension. The ovariectomy surgery caused an increase in remodeling, which was mostly confined on the compressive side to areas that have been previously remodeled, but on the tensile side, bone remodeling expanded into areas that used to be primary bone. The new secondary osteons, as a result of the ovariectomy surgery, were larger than in the control animals. There however, was not an increase in porosity from the ovariectomy surgery, which is one of the main characteristics of osteoporosis. The model could be further studied to determine what sheep are doing that prevents them from losing bone and that knowledge could be greatly beneficial for human treatment plans of postmenopausal osteoporosis.