Development of low-magnitude mechanical stimulation (LMMS) based treatment strategies for a variety of orthopaedic issues requires better understanding of mechano-transduction and bone adaptation. Our overall goal was to study the tissue and molecular level changes in cortical bone in response to low-strain vibration (LSV: 70. Hz, 0.5. g, 300 με) and compare these to changes in response to a known anabolic stimulus: high-strain compression (HSC: rest inserted loading, 1000 με). Adult (6-7. months) C57BL/6 mice were used for the study and non-invasive axial compression of the tibia was used as a loading model. We first studied bone adaptation at the tibial mid-diaphysis, using dynamic histomorphometry, in response to daily loading of 15. min LSV or 60 cycles HSC for 5 consecutive days. We found that bone formation rate and mineral apposition rate were significantly increased in response to HSC but not LSV. The second aim was to compare chemo-transport in response to 5. min of LSV versus 5. min (30 cycles) of HSC. Chemo-transport increased significantly in response to both loading stimuli, particularly in the medial and the lateral quadrants of the cross section. Finally, we evaluated the expression of genes related to mechano-responsiveness, osteoblast differentiation, and matrix mineralization in tibias subjected to 15. min LSV or 60 cycles HSC for 1. day (4-h time point) or 4 consecutive days (4-day time point). The expression level of most of the genes remained unchanged in response to LSV at both time points. In contrast, the expression level of all the genes changed significantly in response to HSC at the 4-h time point. We conclude that short-term, low-strain vibration results in increased chemo-transport, yet does not stimulate an increase in mechano-responsive or osteogenic gene expression, and cortical bone formation in tibias of adult mice.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)468-475
Number of pages8
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2011


  • Bone adaptation
  • Chemo-transport
  • Gene expression
  • Low-strain vibration
  • Mechanical loading
  • Mechanotransduction


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