Abstract

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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