Osteocyte apoptosis and cellular micropetrosis signify skeletal aging in type 1 diabetes

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Bone fragility is a profound complication of type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1DM), increasing patient morbidity. Within the mineralized bone matrix, osteocytes build a mechanosensitive network that orchestrates bone remodeling; thus, osteocyte viability is crucial for maintaining bone homeostasis. In human cortical bone specimens from individuals with T1DM, we found signs of accelerated osteocyte apoptosis and local mineralization of osteocyte lacunae (micropetrosis) compared with samples from age-matched controls. Such morphological changes were seen in the relatively young osteonal bone matrix on the periosteal side, and micropetrosis coincided with microdamage accumulation, implying that T1DM drives local skeletal aging and thereby impairs the biomechanical competence of the bone tissue. The consequent dysfunction of the osteocyte network hampers bone remodeling and decreases bone repair mechanisms, potentially contributing to the enhanced fracture risk seen in individuals with T1DM. Statement of significance: Type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1DM) is a chronic autoimmune disease that causes hyperglycemia. Increased bone fragility is one of the complications associated with T1DM. Our latest study on T1DM-affected human cortical bone identified the viability of osteocytes, the primary bone cells, as a potentially critical factor in T1DM-bone disease. We linked T1DM with increased osteocyte apoptosis and local accumulation of mineralized lacunar spaces and microdamage. Such structural changes in bone tissue suggest that T1DM speeds up the adverse effects of aging, leading to the premature death of osteocytes and potentially contributing to diabetes-related bone fragility.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)254-265
Number of pages12
JournalActa biomaterialia
Publication statusPublished - May 2023

External IDs

PubMed 36878337
ORCID /0000-0002-8691-8423/work/142236075


Research priority areas of TU Dresden

DFG Classification of Subject Areas according to Review Boards

Subject groups, research areas, subject areas according to Destatis

Sustainable Development Goals


  • Cell death, Microdamage accumulation, Micropetrosis, Osteocyte apoptosis, Skeletal aging, Type 1 diabetes mellitus, Bone and Bones, Humans, Aging, Osteocytes, Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1, Apoptosis

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