The University of Southampton
University of Southampton Institutional Repository

Loss of trabeculae by mechano-biological means may explain rapid bone loss in osteoporosis

Mulvihill, Brianne M., McNamara, Laoise M. and Prendergast, Patrick J. (2008) Loss of trabeculae by mechano-biological means may explain rapid bone loss in osteoporosis Journal of the Royal Society, Interface (doi:10.1098/rsif.2007.1341).

Record type: Article


Osteoporosis is characterized by rapid and irreversible loss of trabecular bone tissue leading to increased bone fragility. In this study, we hypothesize two causes for rapid loss of bone trabeculae; firstly, the perforation of trabeculae is caused by osteoclasts resorbing a cavity so deep that it cannot be refilled and, secondly, the increases in bone tissue elastic modulus lead to increased propensity for trabecular perforation. These hypotheses were tested using an algorithm that was based on two premises: (i) bone remodelling is a turnover process that repairs damaged bone tissue by resorbing and returning it to a homeostatic strain level and (ii) osteoblast attachment is under biochemical control. It was found that a mechano-biological algorithm based on these premises can simulate the remodelling cycle in a trabecular strut where damaged bone is resorbed to form a pit that is subsequently refilled with new bone. Furthermore, the simulation predicts that there is a depth of resorption cavity deeper than which refilling of the resorption pits is impossible and perforation inevitably occurs. However, perforation does not occur by a single fracture event but by continual removal of microdamage after it forms beneath the resorption pit. The simulation also predicts that perforations would occur more easily in trabeculae that are more highly mineralized (stiffer). Since both increased osteoclast activation rates and increased mineralization have been measured in osteoporotic bone, either or both may contribute to the rapid loss of trabecular bone mass observed in osteoporotic patients.

Full text not available from this repository.

More information

Accepted/In Press date: 15 April 2008
Keywords: bone, remodelling, microdamage, mechano-regulation, trabecular perforation, osteoporosis, mechanobiology


Local EPrints ID: 50907
ISSN: 1742-5689
PURE UUID: ad73e6e8-da14-43db-97d8-d4ee67804ffc

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 15 Apr 2008
Last modified: 17 Jul 2017 14:50

Export record



Author: Brianne M. Mulvihill
Author: Laoise M. McNamara
Author: Patrick J. Prendergast

University divisions

Download statistics

Downloads from ePrints over the past year. Other digital versions may also be available to download e.g. from the publisher's website.

View more statistics

Atom RSS 1.0 RSS 2.0

Contact ePrints Soton:

ePrints Soton supports OAI 2.0 with a base URL of

This repository has been built using EPrints software, developed at the University of Southampton, but available to everyone to use.

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue without changing your settings, we will assume that you are happy to receive cookies on the University of Southampton website.