Small animal models, and especially transgenic models, have become widespread in the study of bone mechanobiology and metabolic bone disease, but test methods for measuring fracture toughness on multiple replicates or at multiple locations within a single small animal bone are lacking. Therefore, the objective of this study was to develop a method to measure cortical bone fracture toughness in multiple specimens and locations along the diaphysis of small animal bones. Arc-shaped tension specimens were prepared from the mid-diaphysis of rabbit ulnae and loaded to failure to measure the radial fracture toughness in multiple replicates per bone. The test specimen dimensions, crack length, and maximum load met requirements for measuring the plane strain fracture toughness. Experimental groups included a control group, bisphosphonate treatment group, and an ex vivo deproteinization treatment following bisphosphonate treatment (5 rabbits/group and 15 specimens/group). The fracture toughness of ulnar cortical bone from rabbits treated with zoledronic acid for six months exhibited no difference compared with the control group. Partially deproteinized specimens exhibited significantly lower fracture toughness compared with both the control and bisphosphonate treatment groups. The deproteinization treatment increased tissue mineral density (TMD) and resulted in a negative linear correlation between the measured fracture toughness and TMD. Fracture toughness measurements were repeatable with a coefficient of variation of 12–16% within experimental groups. Retrospective power analysis of the control and deproteinization treatment groups indicated a minimum detectable difference of 0.1 MPa·m1/2. Therefore, the overall results of this study suggest that arc-shaped tension specimens offer an advantageous new method for measuring the fracture toughness in small animal bones.
- Bone mineral density
- Cortical bone
- Fracture toughness
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism