The Effect of High Voltage, High Frequency Pulsed Electric Field on Slain Ovine Cortical Bone
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High power, high frequency pulsed electric fields known as pulsed power (PP) has been applied recently in biology and medicine. However, little attention has been paid to investigate the application of pulse power in musculoskeletal system and its possible effect on functional behavior and biomechanical properties of bone tissue. This paper presents the first research investigating whether or not PP can be applied safely on bone tissue as a stimuli and what will be the possible effect of these signals on the characteristics of cortical bone by comparing the mechanical properties of this type of bone pre and post expose to PP and in comparison with the control samples. A positive buck-boost converter was applied to generate adjustable high voltage, high frequency pulses (up to 500 V and 10 kHz). The functional behavior of bone in response to pulse power excitation was elucidated by applying compressive loading until failure. The stiffness, failure stress (strength) and the total fracture energy (bone toughness) were determined as a measure of the main bone characteristics. Furthermore, an ultrasonic technique was applied to determine and comprise bone elasticity before and after pulse power stimulation. The elastic property of cortical bone samples appeared to remain unchanged following exposure to pulse power excitation for all three orthogonal directions obtained from ultrasonic technique and similarly from the compression test. Nevertheless, the compressive strength and toughness of bone samples were increased when they were exposed to 66 h of high power pulsed electromagnetic field compared to the control samples. As the toughness and the strength of the cortical bone tissue are directly associated with the quality and integrity of the collagen matrix whereas its stiffness is primarily related to bone mineral content these overall results may address that although, the pulse power stimulation can influence the arrangement or the quality of the collagen network causing the bone strength and toughness augmentation, it apparently did not affect the mineral phase of the cortical bone material. The results also confirmed that the indirect application of high power pulsed electric field at 500 V and 10 kHz through capacitive coupling method was safe and did not destroy the bone tissue construction.
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