A measure of the elastic properties of tissue can be found from the propagation of sound in the tissue. Longitudinal sonic velocities were measured for mineralized turkey leg tendon (density 1.50g/cc), deer antler (1.77g/cc) and cow tibia (2.05g/cc) in the 10 GHz frequency regime by means of Brillouin light scattering using a nine pass Fabry-Perot interferometer. Wet, air dried, mineralized and demineralized specimens were tested. Sonic velocity in each tissue increased with mineral content and decreased when the tissue was wet. All wet values are higher than for wet rat tail tendon collagen, axially and radially, but with considerably less anisotropy. The results are interpreted to indicate that bone matrix collagen is more highly crosslinked than tail tendon collagen. The loss of anisotropy is taken to correspond to a much higher crosslinking density between adjacent collagen molecules in mineralized tissue compared to rat tail tendon. The axial sonic velocity of dried rat tail tendon is almost that for low density dried mineralized tissue and greater than for the radial sonic velocity of these tissues, but the radial sonic velocity for dried rat tail tendon is much lower, again corresponding to less crosslinking in this tissue. Longitudinal modulus, K, is defined as the tissue density times the square of the velocity. The compliance, I/K, was found to be a linear function of density for each of the four conditions. It suggests that a Reuss formalism describes the elastic properties. Since the difference between the compliance for wet and dry tissue is also a linear function of density, the effect of water on the compliance is additive. The axial sonic velocity for cow bone is essentially constant over a frequency range spanning 10 orders. Presumably the axial sonic velocity is controlled by the continuity of the collagen fibers lying along the bone axis. The radial velocity decreases by 30% over this frequency range, probably due to the many levels of structure observed in long bone like osteons, Haversian canals and blood vessels, as well as internal surfaces like cement lines and between lamellae. The sonic anisotropy of hard tissues decreases considerably with increasing frequency. While rat tail tendon collagen is very anisotropic both sonically and optically, hard tissues whether wet, dry, mineralized or demineralized show much less anisotropy. The optical index of refraction, both axially and radially, was found by Brillouin scattering for the air dried demineralized tissues. A close match was found between optical and sonic anisotropy for all the demineralized tissues.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)187-205
Number of pages19
JournalConnective Tissue Research
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - 1990


  • Collagen
  • Density
  • Refractive index
  • Sonic velocity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rheumatology
  • Biochemistry
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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