Trabeculae of bone provide structural support to the spongy bone found at the ends of long bones.
In this lesson, we will learn about the structure of trabeculae and how they can grow and change in response to mechanical stress.
What Are Trabeculae?
Imagine that you could shrink yourself and go into your hip and then inside the bone tissue at the end of your femur (the largest bone in your leg). What would you see there? At the ends of long bones like the femur, the bone is actually not solid but is full of holes that are connected to each other by thin rods and plates of bone tissue known as trabeculae.This type of porous bone is known as cancellous bone, and it’s found at the ends of long bones like the femur and also in the pelvic bones, ribs, skull, and the vertebrae in the spinal column. Cancellous bone also contains a lot of red bone marrow that fills up the spaces between trabeculae. This bone marrow is really important because it is where all the blood cells in your body are made.
Trabeculae are the thin columns and plates of bone that create a spongy structure in a cancellous bone, which is located at the ends of long bones and in the pelvis, ribs, skull, and vertebrae. Inside the trabeculae, osteoblasts produce new bone tissue, while osteoclasts break down old or damaged bone tissue, and osteocytes regulate this remodeling process.
Trabeculae are aligned with the directions of maximum stress on the bone and can change direction or grow larger in response to forces applied to them, such as those that result from exercise. If the bone isn’t subjected to mechanical stress, as is the case of the astronauts, the trabeculae can shrink and become very fragile.