Why does intermittent hydrostatic pressure enhance the mineralization process in fetal cartilage?

E. Tanck, W.D. Driel, van, J.W. Hagen, E.H. Burger, L. Blankevoort, H.W.J. Huiskes

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36 Citations (Scopus)


The purpose of this study was to determine which factor is the most likely one to have stimulated the mineralization process in the in vitro experiments of Klein-Nulend et al. (Arth. Rheum., vol. 29, p. 1002-9, 1986), in which fetal cartilaginous metatarsals were externally loaded with an intermittent hydrostatic pressure, by compressing the gas phase above the culture medium. Analytical calculations excluded the possibility that the tissue was stimulated by changes in dissolved gas concentration, pH or temperature of the culture medium through compression of the gas phase. The organ culture experiments were also mechanically analyzed using a poroelastic finite element (FE) model of a partly mineralized metatarsal with compressible solid and fluid constituents. The results showed that distortional strains occurred in the region where mineralization proceeded. The value of this strain was, however, very sensitive to the value of the intrinsic compressibility modulus of the solid matrix (K/sub s/). For realistic values of K/sub s/ the distortional strain was probably too small (about 2 mu strain) to have stimulated the mineralization. If the distortional strain was not the factor to have enhanced the mineralization process, then the only candidate variable left is the hydrostatic pressure itself. The authors hypothesize that the pressure may have created the physical environment enhancing the mineralization process. When hydrostatic pressure is applied, the balance of the chemical potential of water across cell membranes may be disturbed, and restored again by diffusion of ions until equilibrium is reached again. The diffusion of ions may have contributed to the mineralization process
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)153-161
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Biomechanics
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1999
Externally publishedYes


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