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BioMed Research International
Volume 2018 (2018), Article ID 4071356, 16 pages
Research Article

Computational Investigation on the Biomechanical Responses of the Osteocytes to the Compressive Stimulus: A Poroelastic Model

1Sansom Institute for Health Research, School of Pharmacy and Medical Sciences, University of South Australia, Adelaide, SA 5001, Australia
2School of Natural and Built Environments, University of South Australia, Adelaide, SA 5095, Australia

Correspondence should be addressed to Cory J. Xian

Received 29 August 2017; Revised 2 December 2017; Accepted 19 December 2017; Published 18 January 2018

Academic Editor: Jiang Du

Copyright © 2018 Liping Wang et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Osteocytes, the major type of bone cells embedded in the bone matrix and surrounded by the lacunar and canalicular system, can serve as biomechanosensors and biomechanotranducers of the bone. Theoretical analytical methods have been employed to investigate the biomechanical responses of osteocytes in vivo; the poroelastic properties have not been taken into consideration in the three-dimensional (3D) finite element model. In this study, a 3D poroelastic idealized finite element model was developed and was used to predict biomechanical behaviours (maximal principal strain, pore pressure, and fluid velocity) of the osteocyte-lacunar-canalicular system under 150-, 1000-, 3000-, and 5000-microstrain compressive loads, respectively, representing disuse, physiological, overuse, and pathological overload loading stimuli. The highest local strain, pore pressure, and fluid velocity were found to be highest at the proximal region of cell processes. These data suggest that the strain, pore pressure, and fluid velocity of the osteocyte-lacunar-canalicular system increase with the global loading and that the poroelastic material property affects the biomechanical responses to the compressive stimulus. This new model can be used to predict the mechanobiological behaviours of osteocytes under the four different compressive loadings and may provide an insight into the mechanisms of mechanosensation and mechanotransduction of the bone.