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J Biomech. 2004 Jul;37(7):1097-106.

Age-related and regional differences in the stress-strain and stress-relaxation behaviours of the rat incisor periodontal ligament.

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Department of Pharmacology, School of Dental Medicine, Tsurumi University, 2-1-3 Tsurumi, Tsurumi-ku, Yokohama 230-8501, Japan.


Groups of rats were killed at 2, 6, 12, and 24 months of age. From dissected left and right mandibles in each rat, three pairs of transverse sections were cut at the incisal, middle, and basal regions of the incisor. One section in each pair was loaded until failure and a stress-strain curve for the periodontal ligament (PDL) was obtained. The other section was loaded to up to 50% of the maximum shear stress as determined from the contralateral section and then kept at a constant strain for 10 min, to obtain the stress-relaxation curve at the same region of the PDL. The maximum shear stress and toughness increased with age at the incisal region and the maximum shear strain increased with age at the incisal and middle regions. The tangent modulus decreased with advancing age at the middle region. The stress-relaxation during 10 min decreased with advancing age at the incisal and basal regions, but not at the middle region. The relaxation process was well described by a sum of three exponential decay functions, reflecting the short-, medium-, and long-term relaxation components. The age-related decrease in the relaxation was mainly attributable to increases in the ratio and relaxation time of the long-term relaxation component. These results suggest that with advancing age the mechanical strength and toughness of the PDL are enhanced mostly at the incisal region and that the viscous fraction is relatively decreased at the incisal and basal regions along the long axis of the rat incisor.

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