Physical signals within the bone, i.e. generated from mechanical loading, have the potential to initiate skeletal adaptation. Strong evidence has pointed to bone fluid flow (BFF) as a media between an external load and the bone cells, in which altered velocity and pressure can ultimately initiate the mechanotransduction and the remodeling process within the bone. Load-induced BFF can be altered by factors such as intramedullary pressure (ImP) and/or bone matrix strain, mediating bone adaptation. Previous studies have shown that BFF induced by ImP alone, with minimum bone strain, can initiate bone remodeling. However, identifying induced ImP dynamics and bone strain factor in vivo using a non-invasive method still remains challenging. To apply ImP as a means for alteration of BFF, it was hypothesized that non-invasive dynamic hydraulic stimulation (DHS) can induce local ImP with minimal bone strain to potentially elicit osteogenic adaptive responses via bone-muscle coupling. The goal of this study was to evaluate the immediate effects on local and distant ImP and strain in response to a range of loading frequencies using DHS. Simultaneous femoral and tibial ImP and bone strain values were measured in three 15-month-old female Sprague Dawley rats during DHS loading on the tibia with frequencies of 1Hz to 10Hz. DHS showed noticeable effects on ImP induction in the stimulated tibia in a nonlinear fashion in response to DHS over the range of loading frequencies, where they peaked at 2Hz. DHS at various loading frequencies generated minimal bone strain in the tibiae. Maximal bone strain measured at all loading frequencies was less than 8με. No detectable induction of ImP or bone strain was observed in the femur. This study suggested that oscillatory DHS may regulate the local fluid dynamics with minimal mechanical strain in the bone, which serves critically in bone adaptation. These results clearly implied DHS's potential as an effective, non-invasive intervention for osteopenia and osteoporosis treatments.
Keywords: Bone fluid flow; Bone remodeling; Hydraulic fluid stimulation; Intramedullary pressure; Loading rate; Mechanical loading.
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