Biomechanics and Modeling in Mechanobiology

, Volume 15, Issue 5, pp 1091–1100 | Cite as

A threshold of mechanical strain intensity for the direct activation of osteoblast function exists in a murine maxilla loading model

  • Natsuki Suzuki
  • Kazuhiro AokiEmail author
  • Petr Marcián
  • Libor Borák
  • Noriyuki Wakabayashi
Original Paper


The response to the mechanical loading of bone tissue has been extensively investigated; however, precisely how much strain intensity is necessary to promote bone formation remains unclear. Combination studies utilizing histomorphometric and numerical analyses were performed using the established murine maxilla loading model to clarify the threshold of mechanical strain needed to accelerate bone formation activity. For 7 days, 191 kPa loading stimulation for 30 min/day was applied to C57BL/6J mice. Two regions of interest, the AWAY region (away from the loading site) and the NEAR region (near the loading site), were determined. The inflammatory score increased in the NEAR region, but not in the AWAY region. A strain intensity map obtained from \(\upmu \hbox {CT}\) images was superimposed onto the images of the bone formation inhibitor, sclerostin-positive cell localization. The number of sclerostin-positive cells significantly decreased after mechanical loading of more than \(150\,{\upmu }{\upvarepsilon }\) in the AWAY region, but not in the NEAR region. The mineral apposition rate, which shows the bone formation ability of osteoblasts, was accelerated at the site of surface strain intensity, namely around \(170\,{\upmu }{\upvarepsilon }\), but not at the site of lower surface strain intensity, which was around \(80\,{\upmu }{\upvarepsilon }\) in the AWAY region, thus suggesting the existence of a strain intensity threshold for promoting bone formation. Taken together, our data suggest that a threshold of mechanical strain intensity for the direct activation of osteoblast function and the reduction of sclerostin exists in a murine maxilla loading model in the non-inflammatory region.


Mechanical strain intensity Murine maxilla Bone formation Inflammation Sclerostin Numerical analyses 



We thank Dr. Kengo Fujiki for valuable advice in setting up the maxilla loading model. We also thank Dr. Hiroshi Kajiya and Dr. Koji Okabe (Fukuoka Dental College, Fukuoka, Japan) for performing experiments using the TNF-\(\upalpha \)-deficient mice. This work was supported by JSPS grants from KAKENHI to K.A. (Nos. 23659867 and 25293377) and N.W. (No. 24592902). The co-authors affiliated with Brno University of Technology were funded by project FSI-S-14-2344 and NETME CENTRE PLUS (LO1202) created with financial support from the Ministry of Education, Youth, and Sports of the Czech Republic under the “National Sustainability Programme I.” The authors declare no potential conflicts of interest with respect to the authorship and/or publication of this article.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

No competing financial interests exist.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Masticatory Function Rehabilitation (Removable Partial Prosthodontics), Graduate School of Medical and Dental SciencesTokyo Medical and Dental UniversityTokyoJapan
  2. 2.Department of Bio-Matrix (Pharmacology), Graduate School of Medical and Dental SciencesTokyo Medical and Dental UniversityTokyoJapan
  3. 3.Institute of Solid Mechanics, Mechatronics and Biomechanics, Faculty of Mechanical EngineeringBrno University of TechnologyBrnoCzech Republic

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