The role of osteocyte lacunar size and density on the apparent stiffness of bone matrix was predicted using a mechanical model from the literature. Lacunar size and lacunar density for different bones from different gender and age groups were used to predict the range of matrix apparent stiffness vallues for human cortical and cancellous tissue. The results suggest that bone matrix apparent stiffness depends on tissue type (cortical versus cancellous), age, and gender, the magnitudes of the effects being significant but small in all cases. Males had a higher predicted matrix apparent stiffness than females for vertebral cancellous bone (p< 10-7) and the difference increased with age (p = 0.0007). In contrast, matrix apparent stiffness was not different between males and females for femoral cortical bone and increased with age in both males (p<0.0001) and females (p <0.0364). Osteocyte lacunar density and size may cause significant gender and age-related variations in bone matrix apparent stiffness. The magnitude of variations in matrix apparent stiffness was small within the physiological range of lacunar size and density for healthy bone, whereas the variations can be profound in certain pathological cases. It was proposed that the mechanical effects of osteocyte density be uncoupled from their biological effects by controlling lacunar size in normal bone.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biomedical Engineering