It is well known that bone has an enormous adaptive capacity to mechanical loadings, and to this extent, several in vivo studies on mouse tibia use established cyclic compressive loading protocols to investigate the effects of mechanical stimuli. In these experiments, the applied axial load is well controlled but the positioning of the hind-limb between the loading endcaps may dramatically affect the strain distribution induced on the tibia. In this study, the full field strain distribution induced by a typical in vivo setup on mouse tibiae was investigated through a combination of in situ compressive testing, µCT scanning and a global digital volume correlation (DVC) approach. The precision of the DVC method and the effect of repositioning on the strain distributions were evaluated. Acceptable uncertainties of the DVC approach for the analysis of loaded tibiae (411 ± 58µɛ) were found for nodal spacing of approximately 50 voxels (520 µm). When pairs of in situ preloaded and loaded images were registered, low variability of the strain distributions within the tibia were seen (range of mean differences in principal strains: 585-1800µɛ). On contrary, larger differences were seen after repositioning (range of mean differences in principal strains: 2500-5500µɛ). To conclude, these preliminary results on thee specimens showed that the DVC approach applied to the mouse tibia can be precise enough to evaluate local strain distributions under loads, and that repositioning of the hind-limb within the testing machine can induce large differences in the strain distributions that should be accounted for when modelling this system.
Keywords: Digital volume correlation (DVC); Ex vivo µCT; In situ µCT; In vivo µCT; Mouse tibia; Strain variability; microCT.
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