Full‐field strain of regenerated bone tissue in a femoral fracture model

Aikaterina Karali, Alex Kao, Richard Meeson, Marta Roldo, Gordon William Blunn, Gianluca Tozzi

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The mechanical behaviour of regenerated bone tissue during fracture healing is key in determining its ability to withstand physiological loads. However, the strain distribution in the newly formed tissue and how this influences the way a fracture heals it is still unclear. X‐ray Computed Tomography (XCT) has been extensively used to assess the progress of mineralised tissues in regeneration and when combined with in situ mechanics and digital volume correlation (DVC) has been proven a powerful tool to understand the mechanical behaviour and full‐field three‐dimensional (3D) strain distribution in bone. The purpose of this study is therefore to use in situ XCT mechanics and DVC to investigate the strain distribution and load‐bearing capacity in a regenerating fracture in the diaphyseal bone, using a rodent femoral fracture model stabilised by external fixation. Rat femurs with 1 mm and 2 mm osteotomy gaps were tested under in situ XCT step‐wise compression in the apparent elastic region. High strain was present in the newly formed bone (εp1 and εp3 reaching 29 000 µε and –43 000 µε, respectively), with a wide variation and inhomogeneity of the 3D strain distribution in the regenerating tissues of the fracture gap, which is directly related to the presence of unmineralised tissue observed in histological images. The outcomes of this study will contribute in understanding natural regenerative ability of bone and its mechanical behaviour under loading.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)156-166
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Microscopy
Issue number3
Early online date24 Jun 2020
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2022


  • bone regeneration
  • digital volume correlation (DVC)
  • histology
  • in situ mechanics
  • X-ray computed tomography (XCT)
  • RCUK
  • MRC
  • MR/N002318/1


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