Mechanical Adaptation

Alexander G. Robling, Robyn K. Fuchs, David B. Burr

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

10 Scopus citations


Mechanical loading is a potent regulator of skeletal size, shape, internal architecture, and composition. The mechanisms by which bone senses and responds to mechanical stimulation are complex and occur at a number of hierarchical levels. However, some fundamental rules and biochemical mechanisms have been established, based on engineering, organ physiology, and cell and molecular biology, that explain and account for the process of bone adaptation to the mechanical environment. These rules include properties of the mechanical stimulation itself (e.g. waveform attributes), temporal aspects of loading, and "windows" of stimulation that have specific effects on the tissue. The cells that sense mechanical inputs to the bone are probably the osteocytes, which have a number of specialized mechanisms, both morphological and biochemical, to convey mechanical information to the effector cells, i.e. those that change bone mass, size, and shape. Our discoveries have important clinic implications, as numerous studies in humans have verified many of the tenets derived by more experimental means. These tenets can be used to design proper exercise conditions to maximize bone health.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationBasic and Applied Bone Biology
PublisherElsevier Inc.
Number of pages30
ISBN (Print)9780124160156
StatePublished - Aug 12 2013


  • Animal models
  • Exercise
  • Fluid flow
  • Mechanoreceptor
  • Mechanotransduction
  • Strain

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)
  • Dentistry(all)

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    Robling, A. G., Fuchs, R. K., & Burr, D. B. (2013). Mechanical Adaptation. In Basic and Applied Bone Biology (pp. 175-204). Elsevier Inc..