Biomechanical consequences of developmental changes in trabecular architecture and mineralization of the pig mandibular condyle

L. Mulder, L.J. Ruijven, van, J.H. Koolstra, T.M.G.J. Eijden, van

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21 Citations (Scopus)


The purpose of the present study was to examine the changes in apparent mechanical properties of trabecular bone in the mandibular condyle during fetal development and to investigate the contributions of altering architecture, and degree and distribution of mineralization to this change. Three-dimensional, high-resolution micro-computed tomography (microCT) reconstructions were utilized to assess the altering architecture and mineralization during development. From the reconstructions, inhomogeneous finite element models were constructed, in which the tissue moduli were scaled to the local degree of mineralization of bone (DMB). In addition, homogeneous models were devised to study the separate influence of architectural and DMB changes on apparent mechanical properties. It was found that the bone structure became stiffer with age. Both the mechanical and structural anisotropies pointed to a rod-like structure that was predominantly oriented from anteroinferior to posterosuperior. Resistance against shear, also increasing with age, was highest in the sagittal plane. The reorganization of trabecular elements, which occurred without a change in bone volume fraction, contributed to the increase in apparent stiffness. The increase in DMB, however, contributed more dominantly. Incorporating the observed inhomogeneous distribution of mineralization decreased the apparent stiffness, but increased the mechanical anisotropy. This denotes that there might be a directional dependency of the DMB of trabecular elements, i.e. differently orientated trabecular elements might have different DMBs. In conclusion, the changes in DMB and its distribution are important to consider when studying mechanical properties during development and should be considered in other situations where differences in DMB are expected.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1575-1582
JournalJournal of Biomechanics
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2007


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