Trabecular bone adaptation to loading in a rabbit model is not magnitude-dependent
Although mechanical loading is known to influence trabecular bone adaptation, the role of specific loading parameters requires further investigation. Previous studies demonstrated that the number of loading cycles and loading duration modulate the adaptive response of trabecular bone in a rabbit model of applied loading. In the current study, we investigated the influence of load magnitude on the adaptive response of trabecular bone using the rabbit model. Cyclic compressive loads, producing peak pressures of either 0.5 or 1.0 MPa, were applied daily (5 days/week) at 1 Hz and 50 cycles/day for 4 weeks post-operatively to the trabecular bone on the lateral side of the distal right femur, while the left side served as an nonloaded control. The adaptive response was characterized by microcomputed tomography and histomorphometry. Bone volume fraction, bone mineral content, tissue mineral density, and mineral apposition rate (MAR) increased in loaded limbs compared to the contralateral control limbs. No load magnitude dependent difference was observed, which may reflect the critical role of loading compared to the operated, nonloaded contralateral limb. The increased MAR suggests that loading stimulated new bone formation rather than just maintaining bone volume. The absence of a dose-dependent response of trabecular bone observed in this study suggests that a range of load magnitudes should be examined for biophysical therapies aimed at augmenting current treatments to enhance long-term fixation of orthopedic devices.