A model is developed in which osteoblasts can sense the strains applied to a small region of bone through electrical coupling between adjacent cells. The stress-generated potentials within bone are assumed to occur through streaming potentials, and the coupled network of osteocytes is assumed to act in a manner similar to the classical cable model for nerve cells. In a one-dimensional model, the linear poroelastic equations for motion of the fluid are solved analytically for sinusoidally varying imposed strains, and the streaming potentials are predicted from the fluid flow. The changes in the osteocyte and osteoblast transmembrane potential are given by an analytical solution to the governing equations, and the dependence of the transmembrane potential changes (TPC) on position, loading rate, manner of loading (compression versus bending), and on the degree of cellular coupling is discussed. The model correctly predicts the rate dependence of remodelling established by other investigators. The influence of the electrical parameters within the model indicate that further study of the cellular coupling in bone can yield important new information on bone remodelling.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
- Biomedical Engineering