A Novel Ex Vivo Bone Culture Model for Regulation of Collagen/Apatite Preferential Orientation by Mechanical Loading

Ryota Watanabe, Aira Matsugaki, Takuya Ishimoto, Ryosuke Ozasa, Takuya Matsumoto, Takayoshi Nakano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The anisotropic microstructure of bone, composed of collagen fibers and biological apatite crystallites, is an important determinant of its mechanical properties. Recent studies have revealed that the preferential orientation of collagen/apatite composites is closely related to the direction and magnitude of in vivo principal stress. However, the mechanism of alteration in the collagen/apatite microstructure to adapt to the mechanical environment remains unclear. In this study, we established a novel ex vivo bone culture system using embryonic mouse femurs, which enabled artificial control of the mechanical environment. The mineralized femur length significantly increased following cultivation; uniaxial mechanical loading promoted chondrocyte hypertrophy in the growth plates of embryonic mouse femurs. Compressive mechanical loading using the ex vivo bone culture system induced a higher anisotropic microstructure than that observed in the unloaded femur. Osteocytes in the anisotropic bone microstructure were elongated and aligned along the long axis of the femur, which corresponded to the principal loading direction. The ex vivo uniaxial mechanical loading successfully induced the formation of an oriented collagen/apatite microstructure via osteocyte mechano-sensation in a manner quite similar to the in vivo environment.

Original languageEnglish
Article number7423
JournalInternational journal of molecular sciences
Issue number13
Publication statusPublished - Jul 1 2022


  • collagen/apatite orientation
  • endochondral ossification
  • ex vivo
  • mechanical loading
  • osteocyte morphology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Molecular Biology
  • Spectroscopy
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry


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