Osteocyte morphology and orientation in relation to strain in the jaw bone

V. Wu, R.F.M. van Oers, E.A.J.M. Schulten, M.N. Helder, R.G. Bacabac, J. Klein-Nulend

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Bone mass is important for dental implant success and is regulated by mechanoresponsive osteocytes. We aimed to investigate the relationship between the levels and orientation of tensile strain and morphology and orientation of osteocytes at different dental implant positions in the maxillary bone. Bone biopsies were retrieved from eight patients who underwent maxillary sinus-floor elevation with β-tricalcium phosphate prior to implant placement. Gap versus free-ending locations were compared using 1) a three-dimensional finite-element model of the maxilla to predict the tensile strain magnitude and direction and 2) histology and histomorphometric analyses. The finite-element model predicted larger, differently directed tensile strains in the gap versus free-ending locations. The mean percentage of mineralised residual native-tissue volume, osteocyte number (mean ± standard deviations: 97 ± 40/region-of-interest), and osteocyte shape (~90% elongated, ~10% round) were similar for both locations. However, the osteocyte surface area was 1.5-times larger in the gap than in the free-ending locations, and the elongated osteocytes in these locations were more cranially caudally oriented. In conclusion, significant differences in the osteocyte surface area and orientation seem to exist locally in the maxillary bone, which may be related to the tensile strain magnitude and orientation. This might reflect local differences in the osteocyte mechanosensitivity and bone quality, suggesting differences in dental implant success based on the location in the maxilla.
Original languageEnglish
Article number2
Number of pages8
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 26 Feb 2018

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