Analysis of bone microarchitectural changes and structural damage in sickle cell disease-induced avascular necrosis using raman spectroscopy is there potential for medical management?

Ahmed Al-Ghaithi*, John Husband, Sultan Al-Maskari

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives: Bone failure due to avascular necrosis (AVN) is a complex pathological phenomenon. Analysis of molecular changes in the bone matrix may help to shed light on the disease process and guide management. This study aimed to explore changes in bone quality and structural damage caused by sickle cell disease (SCD)-induced AVN using Raman spectroscopy. Methods: A total of 10 necrotic femoral heads were obtained from seven SCD patients who underwent total hip replacements. The femoral heads were cut in half and scanned using Raman spectroscopy in correlation with preoperative magnetic resonance imaging to identify necrotic and healthy control areas. Subsequently, samples were examined to determine changes in bone mineralisation, crystallinity, carbonate content, collagen cross-linking and mineral and collagen fibril orientation. Results: Significant changes were observed in bone mineral content, mineral-to-organic content and collagen fibril orientation in necrotic compared to control areas (P ≤0.050). Conclusion: The necrotic samples displayed severe structural damage and loss of mineral and organic contents. Similar Raman signals have been reported in other metabolic bone diseases such as osteoporosis, thereby potentially supporting the use of medical treatment in AVN to promote bone quality.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e297-e301
JournalSultan Qaboos University Medical Journal
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 21 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Bone Density
  • Bone Mineralization
  • Bone Remodeling
  • Extracellular Matrix
  • Femur Head Necrosis
  • Osteonecrosis
  • Raman Spectroscopy
  • Sickle Cell Disease

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

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