The role of mechanical loading in trabecular bone adaptation is important for the understanding of bone integrity in different loading scenarios such as microgravity and for the etiology of age-related bone fractures. There have been numerous in vivo animal studies of bone adaptation, most of which are related to cortical bone remodeling, aimed at the investigation of Wolff’s Law [4], An interesting experimental model for trabecular bone adaptation has been developed in the rat tail vertebrae [2,3]. This model is attractive for trabecular bone adaptation studies because a controlled mechanical load can be applied to a whole vertebra with minimal surgical trauma, using a relatively inexpensive animal model. In addition, with advanced micro computed tomography (micro-CT) or micro magnetic resonance imaging (micro-MRI) coupled with large scale finite element modeling techniques, it is possible to characterize the three-dimensional (3D) stress/strain environment in the bone tissue close to a cellular level (∼25μm) [1]. Therefore, this in vivo rat tail model has a tremendous potential for quantification of the relationship between mechanical stimulation and biological response in trabecular bone adaptation.

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