Finite-element modelling of mechanobiological factors influencing sesamoid tissue morphology in the patellar tendon of an ostrich

Chadwick, K and Shefelbine, S J and Pitsillides, A A and Hutchinson, J R (2017) Finite-element modelling of mechanobiological factors influencing sesamoid tissue morphology in the patellar tendon of an ostrich. Royal Society Open Science, 4 (6). p. 170133.

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Abstract

The appearance and shape of sesamoid bones within a tendon or ligament wrapping around a joint are understood to be influenced by both genetic and epigenetic factors. Ostriches (Struthio camelus) possess two sesamoid patellae (kneecaps), one of which (the distal patella) is unique to their lineage, making them a good model for investigating sesamoid tissue development and evolution. Here we used finite-element modelling to test the hypothesis that specific mechanical cues in the ostrich patellar tendon favour the formation of multiple patellae. Using three-dimensional models that allow application of loading conditions in which all muscles, or only distal or only proximal muscles to be activated, we found that there were multiple regions within the tendon where transformation from soft tissue to fibrocartilage was favourable and therefore a potential for multiple patellae based solely upon mechanical stimuli. While more studies are needed to better understand universal mechanobiological principles as well as full developmental processes, our findings suggest that a tissue differentiation algorithm using shear strain and compressive strain as inputs may be a roughly effective predictor of the tissue differentiation required for sesamoid development.

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