Time course of osteoblast appearance after in vivo mechanical loading

M. D. Boppart, D. B. Kimmel, J. A. Yee, D. M. Cullen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The time course of the bone cellular response to mechanical loading is important in the design of optimal exercise prescriptions. This study examined the time course of periosteal cellular changes in the rat tibia following a single exposure of mechanical loading in four-point bending. The right tibiae of adult female Sprague Dawley rats (n = 48, 346 ± 29 g) were loaded at 40 N (2000 με) for 36 cycles at 2 Hz. Right loaded (L) and left nonloaded (NL) tibiae were collected on days 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, and 9 after loading. Cross sections from the loaded region were examined for periosteal differences in bone lining cell surface length, osteoblast surface length, and both alkaline phosphatase-positive cell surface length and width in the cellular layer. A single loading session increased osteoblast surface length as early as day 2, with a peak in expression on day 3. Nine days after a single loading session osteoblast surface length was not different from nonloaded control levels. Alkaline phosphatase width in the cellular periosteum was elevated by day 2 and remained elevated through day 9. This study shows the transient increase in osteoblast surface following a single loading session. It provides fundamental information regarding the timing of osteoblast appearance and the longevity of the response following mechanical stimulation. Copyright (C) 1998 Elsevier Science Inc.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)409-415
Number of pages7
Issue number5
StatePublished - Nov 1998
Externally publishedYes


  • Alkaline phosphatase
  • Periosteum
  • Rat
  • Strain

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Physiology
  • Histology


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