Biomechanics and Modeling in Mechanobiology

, Volume 2, Issue 2, pp 73–82 | Cite as

Directional dependence of osteoblastic calcium response to mechanical stimuli

Original paper


In adaptive bone remodeling, mechanical signals such as stress/strain caused by loading/deformation are believed to play important roles as regulators of the process in which osteoclastic resorption and osteoblastic formation are coordinated under a local mechanical environment. The mechanism by which cells sense and transduce mechanical signals to the intracellular biochemical signaling cascade is still unclear, however to address this issue, the present study investigated the characteristic response of a single osteoblastic cell, MC3T3-E1, to a well-defined mechanical stimulus and the involvement of the cytoskeletal actin fiber structure in the mechanotransduction pathway. First, by mechanically perturbing to a single cell using a microneedle, a change in the intracellular calcium ion concentration [Ca2+]i was observed as a primal signaling response to a mechanical stimulus, and the threshold value of the perturbation as the mechanical stimulus was evaluated quantitatively. Second, to study directional dependence of the response to the mechanical stimulus, the effect of actin fiber orientation on the threshold value of the calcium response was investigated at various magnitudes and directions of the stimulus. It was found that the osteoblastic response to the perturbation exhibited a directional dependence. That is, the sensitivity of osteoblastic cells to a mechanical stimulus depends on the angle of the applied deformation with respect to the cytoskeletal actin fiber orientation. This finding is phenomenological evidence that cytoskeletal actin fiber structures are involved in the mechanotransduction mechanism, which may be related to cell polarization behaviors such as cellular alignment caused by mechanical stimulation.



This work was partially supported by a Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research from the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology of Japan.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Mechanical Engineering, Faculty of EngineeringKobe UniversityKobeJapan

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