We present a noninvasive, in vivo model for strain application in the tibiae of rats. The hind limb of each animal was placed into a device that applied four point bending to the tibia. Bending was applied in the medial-lateral direction causing compression on the lateral surface of the tibia and tension on the anteromedial surface. The peak strain magnitudes were estimated to be between 1600 and 3500 μstrain. In this pilot work, data were collected from 12 rats. The rats received either one cycle per day, four cycles per day, 12 cycles per day, 36 cycles per day, or 108 cycles per day of bending. The experimental (right) tibiae from all of the rats showed new bone formation after 12 days. The control (left) tibiae showed no new bone formation over this period. A better organized, dense bony reaction occurred in regions of lesser strains than in regions of higher strains, where there was a large accumulation of bone easily identified as woven. The organization and density of the newly formed bone appeared to be inversely related to the peak strains in the region. After 40 days of daily loading, the new bone area appeared to be more compact and better mineralized. However, bone formation was still occurring after 40 days. The results of this study suggest that woven bone formation occurred due to the bending stimulus and not due to pathology.
Keywords: Modeling; Rat; Adaptation; MorphometryPhysical activity; Mechanical stress