Tissue strain amplification at the osteocyte lacuna: A microstructural finite element analysis

Amber Rath Bonivtch, Lynda F. Bonewald, Daniel P. Nicolella

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

106 Scopus citations


A parametric finite element model of an osteocyte lacuna was developed to predict the microstructural response of the lacuna to imposed macroscopic strains. The model is composed of an osteocyte lacuna, a region of perilacunar tissue, canaliculi, and the surrounding bone tissue. A total of 45 different simulations were modeled with varying canalicular diameters, perilacunar tissue material moduli, and perilacunar tissue thicknesses. Maximum strain increased with a decrease in perilacunar tissue modulus and decreased with an increase in perilacunar tissue modulus, regardless of the thickness of the perilacunar region. An increase in the predicted maximum strain was observed with an increase in canalicular diameter from 0.362 to 0.421 μ m. In response to the macroscopic application of strain, canalicular diameters increased 0.8% to over 1.0% depending on the perilacunar tissue modulus. Strain magnification factors of over 3 were predicted. However, varying the size of the perilacunar tissue region had no effect on the predicted perilacunar tissue strain. These results indicate that the application of average macroscopic strains similar to strain levels measured in vivo can result in significantly greater perilacunar tissue strains and canaliculi deformations. A decrease in the perilacunar tissue modulus amplifies the perilacunar tissue strain and canaliculi deformation while an increase in the local perilacunar tissue modulus attenuates this effect.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2199-2206
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Biomechanics
Issue number10
StatePublished - Jun 29 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Bone
  • Finite element model
  • Lacuna
  • Osteocyte
  • Tissue strain

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Rehabilitation

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