Nilsson Holguin, Michael D. Brodt, Michelle E. Sanchez, Matthew J. Silva
Aging purportedly diminishes the ability of the skeleton to respond to mechanical loading, but recent data show that old age did not impair loading-induced accrual of bone in BALB/c mice. Here, we hypothesized that aging limits the response of the tibia to axial compression over a range of adult ages in the commonly used C57BL/6. We subjected the right tibia of old (22 month), middle-aged (12 month) and young-adult (5 month) female C57BL/6 mice to peak periosteal strains (measured near the mid-diaphysis) of −2200 με and −3000 με (n = 12–15/age/strain) via axial tibial compression (4 Hz, 1200 cycles/day, 5 days/week, 2 weeks). The left tibia served as a non-loaded, contralateral control. In mice of every age, tibial compression that engendered a peak strain of −2200 με did not alter cortical bone volume but loading to a peak strain of −3000 με increased cortical bone volume due in part to woven bone formation. Both loading magnitudes increased total volume, medullary volume and periosteal bone formation parameters (MS/BS, BFR/BS) near the cortical midshaft. Compared to the increase in total volume and bone formation parameters of 5-month mice, increases were less in 12- and 22-month mice by 45–63%. Moreover, woven bone incidence was greatest in 5-month mice. Similarly, tibial loading at −3000 με increased trabecular BV/TV of 5-month mice by 18% (from 0.085 mm3/mm3), but trabecular BV/TV did not change in 12- or 22-month mice, perhaps due to low initial BV/TV (0.032 and 0.038 mm3/mm3, respectively). In conclusion, these data show that while young-adult C57BL/6 mice had greater periosteal bone formation following loading than middle-aged or old mice, aging did not eliminate the ability of the tibia to accrue cortical bone.