The in vivo remodeling behavior within a bone protected from natural loading was modified over an 8-week period by daily application of 100 consecutive 1 Hz load cycles engendering strains within the bone tissue of physiological rate and magnitude. This load regime resulted in a graded dose:response relationship between the peak strain magnitude and change in the mass of bone tissue present. Peak longitudinal strains below 0.001 were associated with bone loss which was achieved by increased remodeling activity, endosteal resorption, and increased intra-cortical porosis. Peak strains above 0.001 were associated with little change in intra-cortical remodeling activity but substantial periosteal and endosteal new bone formation.
Although the skeleton's adaptability to load-bearing has been recognized for over a century, the specific mechanical components responsible for strengthening it have not been identified. Here we show that after mechanically stimulating the hindlimbs of adult sheep on a daily basis for a year with 20-minute bursts of very-low-magnitude, high-frequency vibration, the density of the spongy (trabecular) bone in the proximal femur is significantly increased (by 34.2%) compared to controls. As the strain levels generated by this treatment are three orders of magnitude below those that damage bone tissue, this anabolic, non-invasive stimulus may have potential for treating skeletal conditions such as osteoporosis.
A 1-year prospective, randomized, double-blind, and placebo-controlled trial of 70 postmenopausal women demonstrated that brief periods (<20 minutes) of a low-level (0.2g, 30 Hz) vibration applied during quiet standing can effectively inhibit bone loss in the spine and femur, with efficacy increasing significantly with greater compliance, particularly in those subjects with lower body mass.Introduction: Indicative of the anabolic potential of mechanical stimuli, animal models have demonstrated that short periods (Ͻ30 minutes) of low-magnitude vibration (Ͻ0.3g), applied at a relatively high frequency (20 -90 Hz), will increase the number and width of trabeculae, as well as enhance stiffness and strength of cancellous bone. Here, a 1-year prospective, randomized, double-blind, and placebo-controlled clinical trial in 70 women, 3-8 years past the menopause, examined the ability of such high-frequency, low-magnitude mechanical signals to inhibit bone loss in the human. Materials and Methods: Each day, one-half of the subjects were exposed to short-duration (two 10-minute treatments/ day), low-magnitude (2.0 m/s 2 peak to peak), 30-Hz vertical accelerations (vibration), whereas the other half stood for the same duration on placebo devices. DXA was used to measure BMD at the spine, hip, and distal radius at baseline, and 3, 6, and 12 months. Fifty-six women completed the 1-year treatment. Results and Conclusions:The detection threshold of the study design failed to show any changes in bone density using an intention-to-treat analysis for either the placebo or treatment group. Regression analysis on the a priori study group demonstrated a significant effect of compliance on efficacy of the intervention, particularly at the lumbar spine (p ϭ 0.004). Posthoc testing was used to assist in identifying various subgroups that may have benefited from this treatment modality. Evaluating those in the highest quartile of compliance (86% compliant), placebo subjects lost 2.13% in the femoral neck over 1 year, whereas treatment was associated with a gain of 0.04%, reflecting a 2.17% relative benefit of treatment (p ϭ 0.06). In the spine, the 1.6% decrease observed over 1 year in the placebo group was reduced to a 0.10% loss in the active group, indicating a 1.5% relative benefit of treatment (p ϭ 0.09). Considering the interdependence of weight, the spine of lighter women (Ͻ65 kg), who were in the highest quartile of compliance, exhibited a relative benefit of active treatment of 3.35% greater BMD over 1 year (p ϭ 0.009); for the mean compliance group, a 2.73% relative benefit in BMD was found (p ϭ 0.02). These preliminary results indicate the potential for a noninvasive, mechanically mediated intervention for osteoporosis. This non-pharmacologic approach represents a physiologically based means of inhibiting the decline in BMD that follows menopause, perhaps most effectively in the spine of lighter women who are in the greatest need of intervention.
The potential for brief periods of low-magnitude, high-frequency mechanical signals to enhance the musculoskeletal system was evaluated in young women with low BMD. Twelve months of this noninvasive signal, induced as whole body vibration for at least 2 minutes each day, increased bone and muscle mass in the axial skeleton and lower extremities compared with controls.Introduction: The incidence of osteoporosis, a disease that manifests in the elderly, may be reduced by increasing peak bone mass in the young. Preliminary data indicate that extremely low-level mechanical signals are anabolic to bone tissue, and their ability to enhance bone and muscle mass in young women was investigated in this study. Materials and Methods: A 12-month trial was conducted in 48 young women (15-20 years) with low BMD and a history of at least one skeletal fracture. One half of the subjects underwent brief (10 minutes requested), daily, low-level whole body vibration (30 Hz, 0.3g); the remaining women served as controls. Quantitative CT performed at baseline and at the end of study was used to establish changes in muscle and bone mass in the weight-bearing skeleton. Results: Using an intention-to-treat (ITT) analysis, cancellous bone in the lumbar vertebrae and cortical bone in the femoral midshaft of the experimental group increased by 2.1% (p ס 0.025) and 3.4% (p < 0.001), respectively, compared with 0.1% (p ס 0.74) and 1.1% (p ס 0.14), in controls. Increases in cancellous and cortical bone were 2.0% (p ס 0.06) and 2.3% (p ס 0.04) greater, respectively, in the experimental group compared with controls. Cross-sectional area of paraspinous musculature was 4.9% greater (p ס 0.002) in the experimental group versus controls. When a per protocol analysis was considered, gains in both muscle and bone were strongly correlated to a threshold in compliance, where the benefit of the mechanical intervention compared with controls was realized once subjects used the device for at least 2 minute/day (n ס 18), as reflected by a 3.9% increase in cancellous bone of the spine (p ס 0.007), 2.9% increase in cortical bone of the femur (p ס 0.009), and 7.2% increase in musculature of the spine (p ס 0.001) compared with controls and low compliers (n ס 30). Conclusions: Short bouts of extremely low-level mechanical signals, several orders of magnitude below that associated with vigorous exercise, increased bone and muscle mass in the weight-bearing skeleton of young adult females with low BMD. Should these musculoskeletal enhancements be preserved through adulthood, this intervention may prove to be a deterrent to osteoporosis in the elderly.
Bone tissue has the capacity to adapt to its functional environment such that its morphology is "optimized" for the mechanical demand. The adaptive nature of the skeleton poses an interesting set of biological questions (e.g., how does bone sense mechanical signals, what cells are the sensing system, what are the mechanical signals that drive the system, what receptors are responsible for transducing the mechanical signal, what are the molecular responses to the mechanical stimuli). Studies of the characteristics of the mechanical environment at the cellular level, the forces that bone cells recognize, and the integrated cellular responses are providing new information at an accelerating speed. This review first considers the mechanical factors that are generated by loading in the skeleton, including strain, stress and pressure. Mechanosensitive cells placed to recognize these forces in the skeleton, osteoblasts, osteoclasts, osteocytes and cells of the vasculature are reviewed. The identity of the mechanoreceptor(s) is approached, with consideration of ion channels, integrins, connexins, the lipid membrane including caveolar and noncaveolar lipid rafts and the possibility that altering cell shape at the membrane or cytoskeleton alters integral signaling protein associations. The distal intracellular signaling systems on-line after the mechanoreceptor is activated are reviewed, including those emanating from G-proteins (e.g., intracellular calcium shifts), MAPKs, and nitric oxide. The ability to harness mechanical signals to improve bone health through devices and exercise is broached. Increased appreciation of the importance of the mechanical environment in regulating and determining the structural efficacy of the skeleton makes this an exciting time for further exploration of this area.
The osteogenic potential of short durations of low-level mechanical stimuli was examined in children with disabling conditions. The mean change in tibia vTBMD was ؉6.3% in the intervention group compared with ؊11.9% in the control group. This pilot randomized controlled trial provides preliminary evidence that low-level mechanical stimuli represent a noninvasive, non-pharmacological treatment of low BMD in children with disabling conditions. Introduction: Recent animal studies have demonstrated the anabolic potential of low-magnitude, high-frequency mechanical stimuli to the trabecular bone of weight-bearing regions of the skeleton. The main aim of this prospective, double-blind, randomized placebo-controlled pilot trial (RCT) was to examine whether these signals could effectively increase tibial and spinal volumetric trabecular BMD (vTBMD; mg/ml) in children with disabling conditions. Materials and Methods: Twenty pre-or postpubertal disabled, ambulant, children (14 males, 6 females; mean age, 9.1 Ϯ 4.3 years; range, 4 -19 years) were randomized to standing on active (n ϭ 10; 0.3g, 90 Hz) or placebo (n ϭ 10) devices for 10 minutes/day, 5 days/week for 6 months. The primary outcomes of the trial were proximal tibial and spinal (L 2 ) vTBMD (mg/ml), measured using 3-D QCT. Posthoc analyses were performed to determine whether the treatment had an effect on diaphyseal cortical bone and muscle parameters. Results and Conclusions: Compliance was 44% (4.4 minutes per day), as determined by mean time on treatment (567.9 minutes) compared with expected time on treatment over the 6 months (1300 minutes). After 6 months, the mean change in proximal tibial vTBMD in children who stood on active devices was 6.27 mg/ml (ϩ6.3%); in children who stood on placebo devices, vTBMD decreased by Ϫ9.45 mg/ml (Ϫ11.9%). Thus, the net benefit of treatment was ϩ15.72 mg/ml (17.7%; p ϭ 0.0033). In the spine, the net benefit of treatment, compared with placebo, was ϩ6.72 mg/ml, (p ϭ 0.14). Diaphyseal bone and muscle parameters did not show a response to treatment. The results of this pilot RCT have shown for the first time that low-magnitude, high-frequency mechanical stimuli are anabolic to trabecular bone in children, possibly by providing a surrogate for suppressed muscular activity in the disabled. Over the course of a longer treatment period, harnessing bone's sensitivity to these stimuli may provide a non-pharmacological treatment for bone fragility in children.
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