Assessment of a mechano-regulation theory of skeletal tissue differentiation in an in vivo model of mechanically induced cartilage formation
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- Hayward, L.N.M. & Morgan, E.F. Biomech Model Mechanobiol (2009) 8: 447. doi:10.1007/s10237-009-0148-3
Mechanical cues are known to regulate tissue differentiation during skeletal healing. Quantitative characterization of this mechano-regulatory effect has great therapeutic potential. This study tested an existing theory that shear strain and interstitial fluid flow govern skeletal tissue differentiation by applying this theory to a scenario in which a bending motion applied to a healing transverse osteotomy results in cartilage, rather than bone, formation. A 3-D finite element mesh was created from micro-computed tomography images of a bending-stimulated callus and was used to estimate the mechanical conditions present in the callus during the mechanical stimulation. Predictions regarding the patterns of tissues—cartilage, fibrous tissue, and bone—that formed were made based on the distributions of fluid velocity and octahedral shear strain. These predictions were compared to histological sections obtained from a previous study. The mechano-regulation theory correctly predicted formation of large volumes of cartilage within the osteotomy gap and many, though not all patterns of tissue formation observed throughout the callus. The results support the concept that interstitial fluid velocity and tissue shear strain are key mec- hanical stimuli for the differentiation of skeletal tissues.