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J Biomech. 2014 Jul 18;47(10):2490-7. doi: 10.1016/j.jbiomech.2014.03.035. Epub 2014 Apr 3.

Ex vivo determination of bone tissue strains for an in vivo mouse tibial loading model.

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Department of Bioengineering, Imperial College London, UK.
Department of Veterinary Basic Sciences, Royal Veterinary College, London, UK.


Previous studies introduced the digital image correlation (DIC) as a viable technique for measuring bone strain during loading. In this study, we investigated the sensitivity of a DIC system in determining surface strains in a mouse tibia while loaded in compression through the knee joint. Specifically, we examined the effect of speckle distribution, facet size and overlap, initial vertical alignment of the bone into the loading cups, rotation with respect to cameras, and ex vivo loading configurations on the strain contour maps measured with a DIC system. We loaded tibiae of C57BL/6 mice (12 and 18 weeks old male) up to 12 N at 8 N/min. Images of speckles on the bone surface were recorded at 1N intervals and DIC was used to compute strains. Results showed that speckles must have the correct size and density with respect to the facet size of choice for the strain distribution to be computed and reproducible. Initial alignment of the bone within the loading cups does not influence the strain distribution measured during peak loading, but bones must be placed in front of the camera with the same orientation in order for strains to be comparable. Finally, the ex vivo loading configurations with the tibia attached to the entire mouse, or to the femur and foot, or only to the foot, showed different strain contour maps. This work provides a better understanding of parameters affecting full field strain measurements from DIC in ex vivo murine tibial loading tests.


Bone strain; Digital image correlation; Loading; Mouse; Tibia

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