Cancellous bone adaptation to tibial compression is not sex dependent in growing mice

J Appl Physiol (1985). 2010 Sep;109(3):685-91. doi: 10.1152/japplphysiol.00210.2010. Epub 2010 Jun 24.


Mechanical loading can be used to increase bone mass and thus attenuate pathological bone loss. Because the skeleton's adaptive response to loading is most robust before adulthood, elucidating sex-specific responses during growth may help maximize peak bone mass. This study investigated the effect of sex on the response to controlled, in vivo mechanical loading in growing mice. Ten-week-old male and female C57Bl/6 mice underwent noninvasive compression of the left tibia. Peak loads of -11.5 N were applied, corresponding to +1,200 microepsilon at the tibial midshaft in both sexes. Cancellous bone mass, architecture, and dynamic formation in the proximal metaphysis were compared between loaded and control limbs via micro-computed tomography and histomorphometry. The strain environment of the proximal metaphysis during loading was characterized using finite element analysis. Both sexes responded to tibial compression through increased bone mass and altered architecture. Cancellous bone mass and tissue density were enhanced in loaded limbs relative to control limbs in both sexes through trabecular thickening and reduced separation. Changes in mass were due to increased cellular activity in loaded limbs compared with control limbs. Adaptation to loading increased the proportion of load transferred by the cancellous bone in the proximal metaphysis. For all cancellous measures, the response to tibial compression did not differ between male and female mice. When similar strains are engendered in males and females, the adaptive response in cancellous bone to mechanical loading does not depend on sex.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Physiological
  • Animals
  • Bone Density
  • Female
  • Finite Element Analysis
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Osteogenesis*
  • Stress, Mechanical
  • Tibia / diagnostic imaging
  • Tibia / growth & development*
  • Time Factors
  • Weight-Bearing
  • X-Ray Microtomography