, Volume 18, Issue 1, pp 1-8
Date: 14 Sep 2006

The role of osteocytes and bone microstructure in preventing osteoporotic fractures

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The skeleton alters its geometry following trauma, the introduction of artificial defects and of fatigue-induced microcracks. The precise mechanism by which the skeleton adapts remains unclear. Microcracks might directly affect the cell by damaging the osteocyte cell network or causing apoptosis. Bone microstructure may play an important role in these processes by diverting and arresting propagating microcracks and so prevent fracture failure. This paper discusses the effects of microstructure on propagating cracks, how microdamage may act as a stimulus for bone adaptation and its potential effects on bone biochemistry.