The influence of load repetition in bone mechanotransduction using poroelastic finite-element models: the impact of permeability

Biomech Model Mechanobiol. 2014 Jan;13(1):215-25. doi: 10.1007/s10237-013-0498-8. Epub 2013 May 21.


Experimental evidence suggests that interstitial fluid flow is a stimulus for mechanoadaptation in bone. Bone adaptation is sensitive to the frequency of loading and rest insertion between load cycles. We investigated the effects of permeability, frequency and rest insertion on fluid flow in bone using finite-element models to understand how these parameters affect the mechanical stimulus. A simplified 3D poroelastic finite-element model of a beam in bending was developed, in order to simulate the behavior of interstitial fluid flow in the lacunar-canalicular system of mouse cortical bone. Two different load sets were considered: (1) a continuous haversine sinusoid, with frequency ranging from 1 to 30 Hz, and (2) a 10 Hz haversine with rest-insertion times ranging from 0 to 10 s. For both load sets, a range of intrinsic permeability from [Formula: see text] to [Formula: see text] was tested, and fluid flow was determined. Models with permeabilities down to [Formula: see text] follow a dose-response relationship between fluid flow and sinusoidal frequency. Smaller orders of magnitude of permeability proved to be relatively insensitive to frequency. Our results also suggest that there is a minimum time of rest between load cycles that is required to maximize fluid motion, which depends on the order of magnitude of the intrinsic permeability. We show that frequency and rest insertion may be optimized to deliver maximal mechanical stimulus as a function of permeability.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Physiological
  • Bone and Bones / physiology*
  • Finite Element Analysis*
  • Mechanotransduction, Cellular*
  • Models, Biological*
  • Permeability