Loading-related reorientation of bone proteoglycan in vivo. Strain memory in bone tissue?

J Orthop Res. 1988;6(4):547-51. doi: 10.1002/jor.1100060411.


The load-carrying capacity of the skeleton is achieved and maintained as the result of a continued functional stimulus to the cell populations responsible for bone remodeling. Although some bone cells have been assumed to be influenced by the load-induced changes in strain throughout the matrix, no evidence is available to indicate which cells are susceptible to such strain change or how such transient events provide a sustained influence on cell behaviour. In the present study, we showed that a short period of dynamic loading in vivo affects the orientation of proteoglycan within bone tissue. This reorientation declines only slowly, thus providing a persistent record of the tissue's recent strain history. Such a record has the ability not only to "capture" strain transients but also to "update" and "average" them. In this way, the bone cells could be presented with a sustained and coherent stimulus directly related to dynamic strain transients. These transients are the tissue's principal function variable.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Physiological
  • Alcian Blue
  • Animals
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Birefringence
  • Bone and Bones / physiology*
  • Osteogenesis
  • Proteoglycans / physiology*
  • Stress, Mechanical
  • Turkeys


  • Proteoglycans
  • Alcian Blue