Mechanical testing has been regarded as the gold standard to investigate the effects of pathologies on the structure–function properties of the skeleton. Tensile properties of cancellous and cortical bone have been reported previously; however, no relationships describing these properties for rat bone as a function of volumetric bone mineral density (ρMIN), apparent density or bone volume fraction (BV/TV) have been reported in the literature.
We have shown that at macro level, compression and torsion properties of rat cortical and cancellous bone can be well described as a function of BV/TV, apparent density or ρMIN using non-destructive micro-computed tomographic imaging and mechanical testing to failure. Therefore, the aim of this study is to derive a relationship expressing the tensile properties of rat cortical bone as a function of BV/TV, apparent density or ρMIN over a range of normal and pathologic bones.
We used bones from normal, ovariectomized and osteomalacic animals. All specimens underwent micro-computed tomographic imaging to assess bone morphometric and densitometric indices and uniaxial tension to failure.
We obtained univariate relationships describing 74–77% of the tensile properties of rat cortical bone as a function of BV/TV, apparent density or ρMIN over a range of density and common skeletal pathologies. The relationships reported in this study can be used in the structural rigidity to provide a non-invasive method to assess the tensile behavior of bones affected by pathology and/or treatment options.