DOI: 10.1002/jmor.21660 ISSN: 0362-2525

The trabecular architecture of the popliteal sesamoid bone (cyamella) from a New Zealand white rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus)

Meir M. Barak
  • Developmental Biology
  • Animal Science and Zoology


Sesamoid bones are ossified structures that are embedded in tendons near articulation. They consist of an inner trabecular bone architecture surrounded by a thin cortical shell. While the formation of sesamoid bones is probably mainly controlled by genetic factors, the proper development and mineralization of a sesamoid bone depends also on mechanical stimulation. While most sesamoid bones are not loaded directly by other bones during locomotion, they still experience forces directed from the tendon in which they are embedded. In cases when the sesamoid bone is experiencing forces only from a single tendon, such as the cyamella in the rabbit, this may give us a tool to study bone functional adaptation in a relatively simple loading setting. This study investigates the internal trabecular architecture of the popliteal sesamoid bone (cyamellae) in New Zealand white (NZW) rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus). Five hind limbs of NZW rabbits were micro‐computed tomography scanned and the cortical and trabecular architectures of the cyamellae were evaluated. The results revealed that similar to the patella, the cyamella has a thin cortex and a high trabecular bone volume fraction (BV/TV), which is derived mostly from the high trabecular thickness (Tb.Th). Trabecular BV/TV and Tb.Th were not distributed homogeneously, but they were lower at the periphery and higher closer to the proximal and middle of the cyamella, near the musculotendinous junction. The results also demonstrated that trabeculae tend to align along two recognizable orientations, one with the direction of tensile stresses, in line with the popliteal tendon, and the second bridging the narrow space between the cranial and caudal cortical faces of the bone.

More from our Archive