The behaviour of osteocyte dendritic processes in bone under cyclic load (il comportamento dei processi dendritici degli osteociti nel tessuto osseo sottoposti a carico ciclico)

Mulargia, Simone Maria (2014) The behaviour of osteocyte dendritic processes in bone under cyclic load (il comportamento dei processi dendritici degli osteociti nel tessuto osseo sottoposti a carico ciclico). [Laurea magistrale], Università di Bologna, Corso di Studio in Ingegneria meccanica [LM-DM270]
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Bone is continually being removed and replaced through the actions of basic multicellular units (BMU). This constant upkeep is necessary to remove microdamage formed naturally due to fatigue and thus maintain the integrity of the bone. The repair process in bone is targeted, meaning that a BMU travels directly to the site of damage and repairs it. It is still unclear how targeted remodelling is stimulated and directed but it is highly likely that osteocytes play a role. A number of theories have been advanced to explain the microcrack osteocyte interaction but no complete mechanism has been demonstrated. Osteocytes are connected to each other by dendritic processes. The “scissors model" proposed that the rupture of these processes where they cross microcracks signals the degree of damage and the urgency of the necessary repair. In its original form it was proposed that under applied compressive loading, microcrack faces will be pressed together and undergo relative shear movement. If this movement is greater than the width of an osteocyte process, then the process will be cut in a “scissors like" motion, releasing RANKL, a cytokine known to be essential in the formation of osteoclasts from pre-osteoclasts. The main aim of this thesis was to investigate this theoretical model with a specific focus on microscopy and finite element modelling. Previous studies had proved that cyclic stress was necessary for osteocyte process rupture to occur. This was a divergence from the original “scissors model" which had proposed that the cutting of cell material occurred in one single action. The present thesis is the first study to show fatigue failure in cellular processes spanning naturally occurring cracks and it's the first study to estimate the cyclic strain range and relate it to the number of cycles to failure, for any type of cell. Rupture due to shear movement was ruled out as microcrack closing never occurred, as a result of plastic deformation of the bone. Fatigue failure was found to occur due to cyclic tensile stress in the locality of the damage. The strain range necessary for osteocyte process rupture was quantified. It was found that the lower the process strain range the greater the number of cycles to cell process failure. FEM modelling allowed to predict stress in the vicinity of an osteocyte process and to analyse its interaction with the bone surrounding it: simulations revealed evident creep effects in bone during cyclic loading. This thesis confirms and dismisses aspects of the “scissors model". The observations support the model as a viable mechanism of microcrack detection by the osteocyte network, albeit in a slightly modified form where cyclic loading is necessary and the method of rupture is fatigue failure due to cyclic tensile motion. An in depth study was performed focusing on microscopy analysis of naturally occurring cracks in bone and FEM simulation analysis of an osteocyte process spanning a microcrack in bone under cyclic load.

Tipologia del documento
Tesi di laurea (Laurea magistrale)
Autore della tesi
Mulargia, Simone Maria
Relatore della tesi
Corso di studio
Ordinamento Cds
Parole chiave
bone osteocyte dendritic processes scissors model cell fatigue creep
Data di discussione della Tesi
17 Marzo 2014

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