Short-term free-fall landing causes reduced bone size and bending energy in femora of growing rats

Hsin Shih Lin, Tsang Hai Huang*, Ho Seng Wang, Shih Wei Mao, Yuh Shiou Tai, Hung Ta Chiu, Kuang You B. Cheng, Rong Sen Yang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


The purpose of this study was to determine the effects of a mechanical loading course (short-term free-fall landing) on femoral geometry and biomechanical properties in growing rats. Thirty-two female Wistar rats (7-week-old) were randomly assigned to three groups: L30 (n = 11), L10 (n = 11) and CON (n = 10) groups. Animals in the L10 and L30 groups were subjected to a 5-day free-fall landing program in which animals were dropped from a height of 40cm 10 and 30 times per day, respectively. Landing ground reaction force (GRF) was measured on the 1st and 5th days of landing training. All animals were subjected to two fluorescent labeling injections on the days before and after the 5-day landing training. Three days after the last labeling injection, animals were sacrificed under deep anesthesia. Methods of dynamic histomorphometry, tissue geometry and tissue biomechanical measurements were used to investigate the response in femora. A significant decrease in peak GRF in the hind-limb was shown from day 1 to day 5. No significant difference was shown among groups in dynamic histomorphometry. Biomechanical property analyses showed significantly lower maximal energy and post-yield energy in the L10 and L30 groups as compared to the CON group (p < 0.05). Moreover, geometric measurements revealed that crosssectional cortical areas and thicknesses were significantly lower in landing groups than in the CON group. Short-term (5-day) free-fall landing training resulted in minor compromised long bone tissue, as shown by reduced bending energy and cortical bone area but not in other mechanical properties or tissue measurements (e.g. weights and length) of growing female rats. Further studies would be valuable to investigate whether this compromised bone material represents the existence of a latency period in the adaptation of bone material to external mechanical loading.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-9
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Sports Science and Medicine
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2013 Mar


  • Animal model
  • Biomechanical properties
  • Bone
  • Mechanical load
  • Post-yield energy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation


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