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The role of collagen in determining bone mechanical properties

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Author: Wang, X. · Bank, R.A. · teKoppele, J.M. · Mauli Agrawal, C.
Institution: Gaubius Instituut
Source:Journal of Orthopaedic Research, 6, 19, 1021-1026
Identifier: 236399
doi: doi:10.1016/S0736-0266(01)00047-X
Keywords: Biology · Biomedical Research · Bending (forming) · Biomechanics · Bone · Elastic moduli · Selective digestion technique · Orthopedics · Mineral · Biomechanics · Bone density · Cadaver · Clinical article · Controlled study · Denaturation · Heating · Human tissue · Hypothesis · Statistical analysis · Temperature · Biomechanics · Bone and Bones · Collagen · Fractures, Bone · Humans · Protein Denaturation · Temperature


The hypothesis of this study was that collagen denaturation would lead to a significant decrease in the toughness of bone, but has little effect on the stiffness of bone. Using a heating model, effects of collagen denaturation on the biomechanical properties of human cadaveric bone were examined. Prior to testing, bone specimens were heat treated at varied temperatures (37-200°C) to induce different degrees of collagen denaturation. Collagen denaturation and mechanical properties of bone were determined using a selective digestion technique and three-point bending tests, respectively. The densities and weight fractions of the mineral and organic phases in bone also were determined. A repeated measures analysis of variance showed that heating had a significant effect on the biomechanical integrity of bone, corresponding to the degree of collagen denaturation. The results of this study indicate that the toughness and strength of bone decreases significantly with increasing collagen denaturation, whereas the elastic modulus of bone is almost constant irrespective of collagen denaturation. These results suggest that the collagen network plays an important role in the toughness of bone, but has little effect on the stiffness of bone, thereby supporting the hypothesis of this study. © 2001 Orthopaedic Research Society. Published by Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved. Chemicals/CAS: Collagen, 9007-34-5