Integrating degenerative mechanisms in bone and cartilage: a multiscale approach

Annu Int Conf IEEE Eng Med Biol Soc. 2012;2012:6616-9. doi: 10.1109/EMBC.2012.6347511.


At the whole organ level, degenerative mechanisms in bone and cartilage are primarily attributed to modifications in loading pattern. Either a change in magnitude or location can initiate a degenerative path. At the micro scale we often see changes in structure such as porosity increase in bone and fibrillation in cartilage. These changes contribute to a reduced structural integrity that weakens the bulk strength of tissue. Finally, at the cell level we have modeling and remodeling pathways that may be disrupted through disease, drugs and altered stimulus from the micro and macro scales. In order to understand this entire process and the roles each level plays a multiscale modeling framework is necessary. This framework can take whole body loadings and pass information through finer spatial scales in order to understand how everyday dynamic movements influence micro and cellular response. In a similar manner, cellular and microstructural processes regulate whole bulk properties and modify whole organ strength. In this study we highlight the multiscale links developed as part of the open-source ontologies for the Physiome Project using the lower limb as an example. We consider the influence of remodeling in (i) anabolic treatments in cortical bone; and (ii) subchondral bone and cartilage degeneration.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Anterior Cruciate Ligament / pathology
  • Anthropometry
  • Bone Remodeling
  • Bone Resorption
  • Bone and Bones / metabolism
  • Bone and Bones / pathology
  • Cartilage, Articular / metabolism
  • Cartilage, Articular / pathology*
  • Computer Simulation
  • Gait
  • Humans
  • Imaging, Three-Dimensional
  • Inflammation
  • Lactoferrin / metabolism
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Models, Anatomic
  • Models, Biological
  • Osteoarthritis / physiopathology*
  • Osteoporosis / physiopathology*
  • Porosity


  • Lactoferrin