During development and growth, biological tissues and organisms can control their size and mass by regulating cell number (Raff, 1992; Conlon and Raff, 1999). Later in life both cell number and organ mass decrease (Buetow, 1985). We demonstrate that the number density of bone cells buried in the calcified matrix (osteocyte lacunar density) predicts extracellular matrix volume for both cancellous and cortical bone in a broad cross-section of the population (males and females, age range 23-91 years, r2 = 0.98). Our hypothesis is that bone mass is determined by the control of osteocyte number, and that this is a particular instance of the control of organ size through the social controls on cell survival and death (Raff, 1992; Conlon and Raff, 1999).
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences (miscellaneous)