Association between nanoscale strains and tissue level nanoindentation properties in age-related hip-fractures

Bonicelli, Andrea orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-9518-584X, Tay, Tabitha, Cobb, Justin P, Boughton, Oliver R, Hansen, Ulrich, Abel, Richard L and Zioupos, Peter (2023) Association between nanoscale strains and tissue level nanoindentation properties in age-related hip-fractures. Journal of the mechanical behavior of biomedical materials, 138 . p. 105573. ISSN 1751-6161

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Measurement of the properties of bone as a material can happen in various length scales in its hierarchical and composite structure. The aim of this study was to test the tissue level properties of clinically-relevant human bone samples which were collected from donors belonging to three groups: ageing donors who suffered no fractures (Control); untreated fracture patients (Fx-Untreated) and patient who experienced hip fracture despite being treated with bisphosphonates (Fx-BisTreated). Tissue level properties were assessed by (a) nanoindentation and (b) synchrotron tensile tests (STT) where strains were measured at the 'tissue', 'fibril' and 'mineral' levels by using simultaneous Wide-angle - (WAXD) and Small angle- X-ray diffraction (SAXD). The composition was analysed by thermogravimetric analysis and material level endo- and exo-thermic reactions by differential scanning calorimetry (TGA/DSC3+). Irrespective of treatment fracture donors exhibited significantly lower tissue, fibril and mineral strain at the micro and nanoscale respectively and had a higher mineral content than controls. In nanoindentation only nanohardness was significantly greater for Controls and Fx-BisTreated versus Fx-Untreated. The other nanoindentation parameters did not vary significantly across the three groups. There was a highly significant positive correlation (p < 0.001) between organic content and tissue level strain behaviour. Overall hip-fractures were associated with lower STT nanostrains and it was behaviour measured by STT which proved to be a more effective approach for predicting fracture risk because evidently it was able to demonstrate the mechanical deficit for the bone tissue of the donors who had experienced fractures. [Abstract copyright: Copyright © 2022 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd.. All rights reserved.]

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