Growth arrest lines
Citation, DOI, disclosures and article data
At the time the article was created Matt A. Morgan had no recorded disclosures.View Matt A. Morgan's current disclosures
At the time the article was last revised Henry Knipe had the following disclosures:
- Integral Diagnostics, Shareholder (ongoing)
- Micro-X Ltd, Shareholder (ongoing)
These were assessed during peer review and were determined to not be relevant to the changes that were made.View Henry Knipe's current disclosures
The radiographic finding occurs from alternating cycles of osseous growth arrest and growth resumption. This appears to result from pathologic levels of stress during bone development (e.g. disease, malnutrition).
The phenomenon has been described as originating from "osteoblasts, deprived of a longitudinally oriented template of calcifIed cartilage matrix, [continuing] their activities on the horizontally disposed template produced by the undersurface of the epiphyseal cartilage" 2.
Some contend that the lines are not necessarily indicators of development stress, but may be a variation of normal 4.
Trabeculae immediately above and below a growth arrest line are normal, but the Harris line has three histological characteristics 3:
non-lamellar appearance on histology
a complete lack of osteocyte lacunae
presence of irregularly distributed tubular structures
On x-ray and CT, they are seen as transverse radiopaque/sclerotic lines in the metaphyses of long bones. On MRI they appear as hypointense bands on both T1 and T2 weighted imaging.
History and etymology
First described by H Harris in 1927 1.
- 1. Harris HA. Cessation of growth in long bones in health and disease. Mayo Clin Proc. 1927;2:228–229
- 2. Park E. The Imprinting of Nutritional Disturbances on the Growing Bone. Pediatrics. 1964;33:SUPPL:815-62. - Pubmed
- 3. Miszkiewicz J. Histology of a Harris Line in a Human Distal Tibia. J Bone Miner Metab. 2015;33(4):462-6. doi:10.1007/s00774-014-0644-0 - Pubmed
- 4. Papageorgopoulou C, Suter S, Rühli F, Siegmund F. Harris Lines Revisited: Prevalence, Comorbidities, and Possible Etiologies. Am J Hum Biol. 2011;23(3):381-91. doi:10.1002/ajhb.21155 - Pubmed