Long-term ovariectomy decreases ovine compact bone viscoelasticity

C. M. Les, J. L. Vance, G. T. Christopherson, A. S. Turner, G. W. Divine, David P Fyhrie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Changes in bone mineral density associated with estrogen depletion in humans do not account for all of the associated change in fracture risk, and it is possible that some of this variation may lie in changes of other aspects of bone quality. The purpose of this study was to investigate changes in viscoelastic behavior of compact bone that may be associated with estrogen depletion. Changes in compact bone viscoelastic properties associated with three years of ovariectomy were investigated with dynamic mechanical analysis (low-amplitude 3-point bending at frequencies of 1-20 Hz) using beams milled from the diaphysis of the ovine radius. The viscoelastic storage modulus was significantly (5.2%) lower at the higher frequencies for the ovariectomized animals. The general anatomic variation in storage modulus, in which cranial sectors had higher values than caudal sectors, did not change with ovariectomy. The loss tangent (tan δ, a measure of damping) was also greatly decreased (up to 83%) at high frequencies in the ovariectomized animals. Anatomic variation in tan δ at low (6-12 Hz) frequencies (cranial and caudal sectors having higher values than lateral or medial sectors) was enhanced with ovariectomy. Changes in viscoelastic properties associated with long-term estrogen depletion could be responsible for a significant reduction in the toughness or strength of a bone without concomitant changes in screening modalities used to evaluate bone quality (e.g., DXA, QCT, QUA).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)869-876
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Orthopaedic Research
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2005


  • Compact bone
  • Dynamic mechanical analysis
  • Loss tangent
  • Storage modulus
  • Viscoelasticity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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