Send to

Choose Destination
Bone. 2011 Oct;49(4):762-8. doi: 10.1016/j.bone.2011.06.028. Epub 2011 Jun 30.

The role of pressurized fluid in subchondral bone cyst growth.

Author information

Department of Biomedical Engineering, Eindhoven University of Technology, PO Box 513, 5600 MB, Eindhoven, The Netherlands.


Pressurized fluid has been proposed to play an important role in subchondral bone cyst development. However, the exact mechanism remains speculative. We used an established computational mechanoregulated bone adaptation model to investigate two hypotheses: 1) pressurized fluid causes cyst growth through altered bone tissue loading conditions, 2) pressurized fluid causes cyst growth through osteocyte death. In a 2D finite element model of bone microarchitecture, a marrow cavity was filled with fluid to resemble a cyst. Subsequently, the fluid was pressurized, or osteocyte death was simulated, or both. Rather than increasing the load, which was the prevailing hypothesis, pressurized fluid decreased the load on the surrounding bone, thereby leading to net bone resorption and growth of the cavity. In this scenario an irregularly shaped cavity developed which became rounded and obtained a rim of sclerotic bone after removal of the pressurized fluid. This indicates that cyst development may occur in a step-wise manner. In the simulations of osteocyte death, cavity growth also occurred, and the cavity immediately obtained a rounded shape and a sclerotic rim. Combining both mechanisms increased the growth rate of the cavity. In conclusion, both stress-shielding by pressurized fluid, and osteocyte death may cause cyst growth. In vivo observations of pressurized cyst fluid, dead osteocytes, and different appearances of cysts similar to our simulation results support the idea that both mechanisms can simultaneously play a role in the development and growth of subchondral bone cysts.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center