High-resolution image-based simulation reveals membrane strain concentration on osteocyte processes caused by tethering elements

Yuka Yokoyama, Yoshitaka Kameo, Hiroshi Kamioka, Taiji Adachi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Osteocytes are vital for regulating bone remodeling by sensing the flow-induced mechanical stimuli applied to their cell processes. In this mechanosensing mechanism, tethering elements (TEs) connecting the osteocyte process with the canalicular wall potentially amplify the strain on the osteocyte processes. The ultrastructure of the osteocyte processes and canaliculi can be visualized at a nanometer scale using high-resolution imaging via ultra-high voltage electron microscopy (UHVEM). Moreover, the irregular shapes of the osteocyte processes and the canaliculi, including the TEs in the canalicular space, should considerably influence the mechanical stimuli applied to the osteocytes. This study aims to characterize the roles of the ultrastructure of osteocyte processes and canaliculi in the mechanism of osteocyte mechanosensing. Thus, we constructed a high-resolution image-based model of an osteocyte process and a canaliculus using UHVEM tomography and investigated the distribution and magnitude of flow-induced local strain on the osteocyte process by performing fluid–structure interaction simulation. The analysis results reveal that local strain concentration in the osteocyte process was induced by a small number of TEs with high tension, which were inclined depending on the irregular shapes of osteocyte processes and canaliculi. Therefore, this study could provide meaningful insights into the effect of ultrastructure of osteocyte processes and canaliculi on the osteocyte mechanosensing mechanism.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2353-2360
Number of pages8
JournalBiomechanics and Modeling in Mechanobiology
Volume20
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Canaliculus
  • Computational biomechanics
  • Image-based simulation
  • Mechanosensing
  • Osteocyte
  • Tethering element

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Modelling and Simulation
  • Mechanical Engineering

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