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Bone. 2010 May;46(5):1260-6. doi: 10.1016/j.bone.2010.02.005. Epub 2010 Feb 10.

Effects of trabecular type and orientation on microdamage susceptibility in trabecular bone.

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Tissue Mechanics Laboratory, Department of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering, University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, IN 46556, USA.


Trabecular architecture becomes more rod-like and anisotropic in osteoporotic and aging trabecular bone. In order to address the effects of trabecular type and orientation on trabecular bone damage mechanics, microstructural finite element modeling was used to identify the yielded tissue in ten bovine tibial trabecular bone samples compressed to 1.2% on-axis apparent strain. The yielded tissue was mapped onto individual trabeculae identified by an Individual Trabeculae Segmentation (ITS) technique, and the distribution of the predicted yielding among trabecular types and orientations was compared to the experimentally measured microdamage. Although most of the predicted yielded tissue was found in longitudinal plates (73+/-11%), the measured microcrack density was positively correlated with the proportion of the yielded tissue in longitudinal rods (R(2)=0.52, p=0.02), but not in rods of other directions or plates. The overall fraction of rods and the fractions of rods along the longitudinal and transverse axes were also correlated with the measured microcrack density. In contrast, diffuse damage area did not correlate with any of these quantities. These results agree with the findings that both in vitro and in vivo microcrack densities are correlated with Structure Model Index (SMI), and are also consistent with decreased energy to failure in more rod-like trabecular bone. Together the results suggest that bending or buckling deformations of rod-like trabeculae may make trabecular structures more susceptible to microdamage formation. Moreover, while simple strain-based tissue yield criteria may account for macroscopic yielding, they may not be suitable for identifying damage.

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