Honors Program


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McConnell, M.; Qian, W.; Graeff-Armas, L. A.; Bare, S. P.; Turner, J. A.; Lappe, J. M.; Recker, R. R.; Akhter, M. P., Osteocyte Lacunar Properties in Type-1 Diabetic Postmenopausal Women. Undergraduate Honors Thesis. University of Nebraska-Lincoln. 2024 Mar.


Copyright Maxwyll J. McConnell , Wen Qian , Laura A. Graeff-Armas, Sue P. Bare, Joseph A. Turner, Joan M. Lappe, Robert R. Recker, and Mohammed P. Akhter 2024


The goal of this study is to investigate the causes of skeletal fragility in Type 1 Diabetic (T1D) women. We hypothesize that bone fragility in diabetic individuals is due to changes in mineral and/or intrinsic material properties in the osteocyte lacunar/peri-lacunar regions of bone tissue. Data comparing bone tissue’s material properties is scarce, and bone mineral density (BMD) does not explain the elevated fracture risk in T1D women. Measurements taken with a Laser Scanning 3D Confocal Microscope and a Quasistatic Nanoindenter allowed for the characterization of the material properties surrounding osteocyte lacunae. The resulting modulus and hardness values from nanoindentation were utilized for analysis. In trabecular bone tissue, it was found that there is no statistically significant (P < .05) difference between lacunae-near and lacunae-far hardness (GPa) or reduced modulus (GPa) in the Case, Control, and combined Case & Control groups. When looking at significant differences (P < .5) in the lacunae-near and lacunae-far hardness, both the Control and Case & Control combined groups showed higher lacunae-near hardness values. In all measured groups, the Control hardness and reduced modulus values were higher than the Case samples. These findings suggest that within the 25µm radius around lacunae, there is not a significant variation in microscale intrinsic properties. Future research should measure at multiple distances from lacunae to determine a relationship between modulus/hardness and distance. These findings would motivate new osteocyte-targeted treatments to reduce fracture risks in these groups.