Elastic Modulus and Its Relation to Apparent Mineral Density in Juvenile Equine Bones of the Lower Limb

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Density–modulus relationships are necessary to develop finite element models of bones that may be used to evaluate local tissue response to different physical activities. It is unknown if juvenile equine trabecular bone may be described by the same density-modulus as adult equine bone, and how the density-modulus relationship varies with anatomical location and loading direction. To answer these questions, trabecular bone cores from the third metacarpal (MC3) and proximal phalanx (P1) bones of juvenile horses (age <1 yr) were machined in the longitudinal (n ¼ 134) and transverse (n ¼ 90) directions and mechanically tested in compression. Elastic modulus was related to apparent computed tomography density of each sample using power law regressions. We found that density-modulus relationships for juvenile equine trabecular bone were significantly different for each anatomical location (MC3 versus P1) and orientation (longitudinal versus transverse). Use of the incorrect density–modulus relationship resulted in increased root mean squared percent error of the modulus prediction by 8–17%. When our juvenile density-modulus relationship was compared to one of an equivalent location in adult horses, the adult relationship resulted in an approximately 80% increase in error of the modulus prediction. Moving forward, more accurate models of young bone can be developed and used to evaluate potential exercise regimens designed to encourage bone adaptation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number081001
JournalJournal of Biomechanical Engineering
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2023


  • density
  • equine
  • juvenile
  • modulus
  • proximal phalanx (P1)
  • third metacarpal (MC3)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology (medical)
  • Biomedical Engineering


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