Repeated irradiation from micro-computed tomography scanning at 2, 4 and 6 months of age does not induce damage to tibial bone microstructure in male and female CD-1 mice
Long-term effects of repeated in vivo micro-computed tomography (μCT) scanning at key stages of growth and bone development (ages 2, 4 and 6 months) on trabecular and cortical bone structure, as well as developmental patterns, have not been studied. We determined the effect of repetitive μCT scanning at age 2, 4 and 6 months on tibia bone structure of male and female CD-1 mice and characterized developmental changes. At 2, 4 and 6 months of age, right tibias were scanned using in vivo μCT (Skyscan 1176) at one of three doses of radiation per scan: 222, 261 or 460 mGy. Left tibias of the same mice were scanned only at 6 months to serve as non-irradiated controls to determine whether recurrent radiation exposure alters trabecular and cortical bone structure at the proximal tibia. In males, eccentricity was lower (P<0.05) in irradiated compared with non-irradiated tibias (222 mGy group). Within each sex, all other structural outcomes were similar between irradiated and non-irradiated tibias regardless of dose. Trabecular bone loss occurred in all mice due to age while cortical development continued to age 6 months. In conclusion, repetitive μCT scans at various radiation doses did not damage trabecular or cortical bone structure of proximal tibia in male and female CD-1 mice. Moreover, scanning at 2, 4 and 6 months of age highlight the different developmental time course between trabecular and cortical bone. These scanning protocols can be used to investigate longitudinal responses of bone structures to an intervention.