Age- and direction-related adaptations of lumbar vertebral trabecular bone with respect to apparent stiffness and tissue level stress distribution

He Gong, Yubo Fan, Ming Zhang, Ling Qin

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


The objective of this study was to study the age-related adaptation of lumbar vertebral trabecular bone at the apparent level, as well as the tissue level in three orthogonal directions. Ninety trabecular specimens were obtained from six normal L4 vertebral bodies of six male cadavers in two age groups, three aged 62 years and three aged 69 years, and were scanned using a high-resolution micro-computed tomography (micro-CT) system, then converted to micro-finite element models to do micro-finite element analyses. The relationship between apparent stiffness and bone volume fraction, and the tissue level von Mises stress distribution for each trabecular specimen when compressed separately in the longitudinal direction, medial-lateral and anterior-posterior directions (transverse directions) were derived and compared between two age groups. The results showed that at the apparent level, trabecular bones from 69-year group had stiffer bone structure relative to their volume fractions in all three directions, and in both age groups, changes in bone volume fraction could explain more variations in apparent stiffness in the longitudinal direction than the transverse directions; at the tissue level, aging had little effect on the tissue von Mises stress distributions for the compressions in all the three directions. The novelty of the present study was that it provided quantitative assessments on the age and direction-related adaptation of Chinese male lumbar vertebral trabecular bone from two different levels: stiffness at the apparent level and stress distribution at the tissue level. It may help to understand the failure mechanisms and fracture risks of vertebral body associated with aging and direction for the prevention of fracture risks in elder individuals.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)121-129
Number of pages9
JournalActa Mechanica Sinica/Lixue Xuebao
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2009


  • Apparent stiffness
  • Micro-finite element analysis
  • Tissuevon Mises stress
  • Trabecular bone
  • Vertebral body

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computational Mechanics
  • Mechanical Engineering


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