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Load-induced proteoglycan orientation in bone tissue in vivo and in vitro

, : Load-induced proteoglycan orientation in bone tissue in vivo and in vitro. Calcified Tissue International 46(5): 318-326

Previous studies of Alcian blue-induced birefringence in adult avian cortical bone showed that a short period of intermittent loading rapidly produces an increased level of orientation of proteoglycans within the bone tissue. In the absence of further loading, this persists for over 24 hours. We have proposed that this phenomenon could provide a means for "capturing" the effects of transient strains, and so provide a persistent, constantly updated strain-related influence on osteocyte populations related to the bones' averaged recent strain history, in effect, a "strain memory" in bone tissue. In our present study, we use the Alcian blue-induced birefringence technique to demonstrate that proteoglycan orientation also occurs after intermittent loading of both cortical and cancellous mammalian bone in vivo and in vitro. We also show that the change in birefringence is proportional to the magnitude of the applied strain, and that the reorientation occurs rapidly, reaching a maximal value after only 50 loading cycles. Examination of electron micrographs of bone tissue after staining with cupromeronic blue allows direct visualization and quantification of the change in proteoglycan orientation produced by loading. This shows that intermittent loading is associated with a realignment of the proteoglycan protein cores, bringing them some 5 degrees closer to the direction of collagen fibrils in the bone matrix.


PMID: 2110854

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