Skeletal development and bone functional adaptation

Authors

  • Dennis R. Carter,

    Corresponding author
    1. Biomechanical Engineering Program, Mechanical Engineering Department, Stanford University, Stanford, and Rehabilitation Research & Development Center, Veterans Affair Medical Center, Palo Alto, California
    • Mechanical Engineering Dept. Design Division Stanford University Stanford, CA 94305–4021
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  • Tracy E. Orr

    1. Biomechanical Engineering Program, Mechanical Engineering Department, Stanford University, Stanford, and Rehabilitation Research & Development Center, Veterans Affair Medical Center, Palo Alto, California
    Current affiliation:
    1. Orthopaedic Biomechanics Laboratory, Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston
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Abstract

The role of in vivo mechanical loading histories in normal skeletogenesis is related to the process of adaptive, stress-regulated bone remodeling in the adult. The results of many previous computer models for endochondral ossification and bone modeling and remodeling are reviewed. These studies support the view that simple stress-related mathematical algorithms or “construction rules” can be used to emulate normal skeletal development and architectural construction. Such mathematical rules presumably represent the net result of biophysical phenomena influencing cell metabolism and biosynthetic activity. These rules are also successful in describing the adaptation of adult bone to changes in tissue stresses. The findings suggest that stress-related functional adaptation in mature bones may be merely the adult manifestation of the same mechanical construction rules that guide and constrain normal development.

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