Background/Aims: Little is known about the microstructural changes in bone tissue in the early phase of chronic renal failure (CRF). In this study, we analyzed the bone tissue in a rat model of early CRF using a high-resolution X-ray tomographic system, i.e. microfocus computed tomography (MXCT), which is capable of detecting microscopic structural changes in bone tissue. Methods: CRF rats were created by 7/8 nephrectomy by ligation of the renal artery branches, and were sacrificed 24 weeks after surgery. MXCT and bone mineral densitometry by single-energy X-ray absorptiometry (SXA) were performed using extracted bone samples. Images obtained by MXCT were further analyzed by node-strut morphometry. Results: Biochemical analysis confirmed that CRF was induced in 7/8-renal artery-ligated rats. MXCT demonstrated a significant decrease in trabecular bone in uremic rats, whereas SXA was unable to detect the difference. The node-strut method revealed decreased trabecular connectivity, with little change in the thickness of the trabecular bone in uremic rats. Conclusion: MXCT was able to detect significant changes in trabecular bone at an early stage of renal failure. The observed structural changes differed from those found in long-term dialysis patients. MXCT is a practical and promising device used for the non-invasive evaluation of early bone changes in uremic patients.

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