Microfibril orientation dominates the microelastic properties of human bone tissue at the lamellar length scale.

Granke M, Gourrier A, Rupin F, Raum K, Peyrin F, Burghammer M, Saïed A, Laugier P
PLoS One. 2013 8 (3): e58043

PMID: 23472132 · PMCID: PMC3589472 · DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0058043

The elastic properties of bone tissue determine the biomechanical behavior of bone at the organ level. It is now widely accepted that the nanoscale structure of bone plays an important role to determine the elastic properties at the tissue level. Hence, in addition to the mineral density, the structure and organization of the mineral nanoparticles and of the collagen microfibrils appear as potential key factors governing the elasticity. Many studies exist on the role of the organization of collagen microfibril and mineral nanocrystals in strongly remodeled bone. However, there is no direct experimental proof to support the theoretical calculations. Here, we provide such evidence through a novel approach combining several high resolution imaging techniques: scanning acoustic microscopy, quantitative scanning small-Angle X-ray scattering imaging and synchrotron radiation computed microtomography. We find that the periodic modulations of elasticity across osteonal bone are essentially determined by the orientation of the mineral nanoparticles and to a lesser extent only by the particle size and density. Based on the strong correlation between the orientation of the mineral nanoparticles and the collagen molecules, we conclude that the microfibril orientation is the main determinant of the observed undulations of microelastic properties in regions of constant mineralization in osteonal lamellar bone. This multimodal approach could be applied to a much broader range of fibrous biological materials for the purpose of biomimetic technologies.

MeSH Terms (20)

Aged, 80 and over Algorithms Biomechanical Phenomena Biomimetics Bone and Bones Bone Density Bone Remodeling Cadaver Collagen Elasticity Female Humans Image Processing, Computer-Assisted Microfibrils Models, Statistical Nanoparticles Particle Size Surface Properties Synchrotrons X-Ray Microtomography

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