Microfluidic enhancement of intramedullary pressure increases interstitial fluid flow and inhibits bone loss in hindlimb suspended mice

J Bone Miner Res. 2010 Aug;25(8):1798-807. doi: 10.1002/jbmr.74.


Interstitial fluid flow (IFF) has been widely hypothesized to mediate skeletal adaptation to mechanical loading. Although a large body of in vitro evidence has demonstrated that fluid flow stimulates osteogenic and antiresorptive responses in bone cells, there is much less in vivo evidence that IFF mediates loading-induced skeletal adaptation. This is due in large part to the challenges associated with decoupling IFF from matrix strain. In this study we describe a novel microfluidic system for generating dynamic intramedullary pressure (ImP) and IFF within the femurs of alert mice. By quantifying fluorescence recovery after photobleaching (FRAP) within individual lacunae, we show that microfluidic generation of dynamic ImP significantly increases IFF within the lacunocanalicular system. In addition, we demonstrate that dynamic pressure loading of the intramedullary compartment for 3 minutes per day significantly eliminates losses in trabecular and cortical bone mineral density in hindlimb suspended mice, enhances trabecular and cortical structural integrity, and increases endosteal bone formation rate. Unlike previously developed modalities for enhancing IFF in vivo, this is the first model that allows direct and dynamic modulation of ImP and skeletal IFF within mice. Given the large number of genetic tools for manipulating the mouse genome, this model is expected to serve as a powerful investigative tool in elucidating the role of IFF in skeletal adaptation to mechanical loading and molecular mechanisms mediating this process.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bone Resorption / physiopathology*
  • Bone and Bones / pathology
  • Bone and Bones / physiopathology*
  • Extracellular Fluid / physiology*
  • Female
  • Fluorescence Recovery After Photobleaching
  • Hindlimb Suspension*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Microfluidics / methods*
  • Organ Size
  • Osteogenesis / physiology
  • Pressure*
  • Rheology*
  • Stress, Mechanical