An Experimental and Computational Investigation of Bone Formation in Mechanically Loaded Trabecular Bone Explants

Ann Biomed Eng. 2016 Apr;44(4):1191-203. doi: 10.1007/s10439-015-1378-4. Epub 2015 Jul 25.


Understanding how bone marrow multipotent stromal cells (MSCs) contribute to new bone formation and remodeling in vivo is of principal importance for informing the development of effective bone tissue engineering strategies in vitro. However, the precise in situ stimuli that MSCs experience have not been fully established. The shear stress generated within the bone marrow of physiologically loaded samples has never been determined, but could be playing an important role in the generation of sufficient stimulus for MSCs to undergo osteogenic differentiation. In this study fluid structure interaction (FSI) computational models were used in conjunction with a bioreactor which physiologically compresses explanted trabecular bone samples to determine whether MSCs can be directly stimulated by mechanical cues within the bone marrow. Experimentally loaded samples were found to have greater osteogenic activity, as verified by bone histomorphometry, compared to control static samples. FSI models demonstrated a linear relationship between increasing shear stress and decreasing bone volume. The FSI models demonstrated that bone strain, not marrow shear stress, was likely the overall driving mechanical signal for new bone formation during compression. However, the shear stress generated in the models is within the range of values which has been shown previously to generate an osteogenic response in MSCs.

Keywords: Bioreactor; Bone marrow; Bone marrow multipotent stromal cells; Bone tissue engineering; Fluid structure interaction; Marrow; Shear stress.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cancellous Bone / physiology*
  • Finite Element Analysis
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cells / physiology*
  • Models, Biological*
  • Osteogenesis / physiology*
  • Sheep
  • Stress, Mechanical