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Osteoporosis and strontium –  research carried out on SOLEIL's DIFFABS Beamline

Press Release Number: 
Thursday, October 6, 2011
Example of sample studied in this work: piece of bone with some cartilage at the top (yellowish colour).


Osteoporosis is a major public health problem that affects about one in three women and one in seven men over 50 years - a total of 150 million people worldwide. Responsible for a decrease in bone mass, the disease leads to a weakening of the skeleton resulting in fragility fractures. Among proposed treatments, drugs containing strontium, an element close to calcium, have proved effective in increasing bone mass and reducing the risk of fracture in postmenopausal women.

French and American doctors and researchers have used X-ray absorption near-edge spectroscopy (XANES) analysis on the DIFFABS beamline, coupled with numerical simulations to study the local environment of strontium Sr2 + ions. Their goal is a better understanding of how and where to set the Sr2 + ions in different types of mineral deposit: physiological (bones), but also pathological calcifications (kidney, bladder or prostate stones).

Their studies show that it is possible, using XANES, through the presence of specific spectral signatures, to differentiate between the samples in which strontium is included in the calcified matrix (i.e. bones ) from those in which the Sr2 + ions have only been adsorbed by the tissue surface (i.e. stones). The samples studied came from patients not treated with strontium, which means that these results describe the physiological processes that occurred in the body from strontium naturally provided by food.

The use of XANES, an analysis technique adapted to localizing strontium in different mineralized structures, thus appears as a choice tool for understanding therapies derived from strontium which target osteoporosis.

Additional Information

The original news release can be found here

The status of strontium in biological apatites: an XANES investigation D. Bazin, M. Daudon, Ch. Chappard, J.J. Rehr, D. Thiaudière, S. Reguer,
Journal of Synchrotron Radiation (2011) Volume 18, Part 6 doi:10.1107/S0909049511032651

About SOLEIL Synchrotron

SOLEIL is a third-generation (2.75 GeV) machine optimized for synchrotron emission in both the bending magnets and the straight sections with the wigglers and undulators. SOLEIL will become operational in 2006. It opens new prospects for probing matter with resolution on the scale of a millionth of a meter and sensitivity to all types of material. Its applications are manifold in physics, chemistry, environmental sciences, medicine and biology. For more information visit