Abstract

Knowledge of the organization of the components of bone is of primary importance in understanding how this tissue responds to stresses and provides a starting point for the design and development of biomaterials. Bone structure has been the subject of numerous studies. The mineralized fiber arrangement in cortical bone is either a twisted or orthogonal plywood structure. Both mineral models coexist in compact bone. Raman polarized spectroscopy offers definite advantages in the study of biological samples, enabling the simultaneous analysis of mineral and organic components and the determination of molecular orientation through the polarization properties of the Raman scattering. In this study, we used the Raman polarization approach to simultaneously investigate the orientation of collagen fibrils and apatite crystals in human cortical bone. Raman bands ratios were monitored as a function of sample orientation. Specific ratios were chosen—such as ν<sub>3</sub> PO<sub>4</sub>/ν<sub>1</sub> PO<sub>4</sub>, amide III (1271 cm<sup>−1</sup>)/amide III (1243 cm<sup>−1</sup>), and amide I/amide III (1243 cm<sup>−1</sup>)—due to their sensitivity to apatite-crystal and collagen-fibril orientation. Based on this original approach, spatial changes were monitored as a function of distance from the Haversian canal. The results revealed simultaneous tilting in intra-lamellar collagen-fibril and mineral crystal orientations. These results are consistent with a twisted plywood organization in the Haversian bone structure at the lamellar level. But at molecular level, the co-alignment of the collagen fibrils and the apatite crystal is observed in the innermost lamellae and becomes gradually less ordered as the distance from the Haversian canal increases. This work highlights the interest of Raman spectroscopy for the multiscale investigation of bone structure.

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