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Bone adapts its architecture to the applied load; however, it is still unclear how bone mechano-adaptation is coordinated and why potential for adaptation adjusts during the life course. Previous animal models have suggested strain as the mechanical stimulus for bone adaptation, but yet it is unknown how mouse cortical bone load-related strains vary with age and sex. In this study, full-field strain maps (at 1 N increments up to 12 N) on the bone surface were measured in young, adult, and old (aged 10, 22 weeks, and 20 months, respectively), male and female C57BL/6J mice with load applied using a noninvasive murine tibial model. Strain maps indicate a nonuniform strain field across the tibial surface, with axial compressive loads resulting in tension on the medial side of the tibia because of its curved shape. The load-induced surface strain patterns and magnitudes show sexually dimorphic changes with aging. A comparison of the average and peak tensile strains indicates that the magnitude of strain at a given load generally increases during maturation, with tibias in female mice having higher strains than in males. The data further reveal that postmaturation aging is linked to sexually dimorphic changes in average and maximum strains. The strain maps reported here allow for loading male and female C57BL/6J mouse legs in vivo at the observed ages to create similar increases in bone surface average or peak strain to more accurately explore bone mechano-adaptation differences with age and sex.


This article was originally published in JBMR Plus, available at

This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.



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