Understanding the biomechanical stimuli controlling periosteal stem cells in bone homeostasis, repair and age-related disease

Malcolm Logan (primary)
Randall Division of Cell and Molecular Biophysics
King's College London
Andrew Pitsilides (secondary)
Comparative Biomedical Sciences
Royal Veterinary College


The skeleton is a dynamic, highly mechanosensitive tissue that is remodelled throughout life with older tissue being replaced following recruitment of new cells from a skeletal stem cell niche. This constant turnover enables bone to respond rapidly to exercise by increasing in size and density, while under reduced load bone mass is lost. Imbalance in the turnover of bone is the basis of diseases such as osteoporosis.
The periosteum, a thin layer of cells surrounding the outer surface of bone, is one source of tissue-resident stem cells that generates bone progenitors during bone homeostasis and fracture repair. The mechanisms by which periosteal cells respond to biomechanical stimuli is not known, nor is it understood why this response declines with age.


Brown S, Malik S, Aljammal M, O’Flynn A, Hobbs C, Shah M, Roberts SJ, & Logan MPO (2021) Prrx1eGFP labels the forming perisoteum and an adult subpopulation of osteogenic periosteal cells enriched at sites of mechanical loading. Development under review

Javaheri B, Carriero A, Wood M, De Souza R, Lee PD, Shefelbine S, Pitsillides AA. (2018) Transient peak-strain matching partially recovers the age-impaired mechanoadaptive cortical bone response. Scientific Reports. 8(1):6636. doi: 10.1038/s41598-018-25084-6.

de Souza, RL, Matsuura M, Eckstein F, Rawlinson SCF, Lanyon L & Pitsillides AA. (2005) Non-invasive model of axial loading of the mouse tibia discloses load-induced increases in cortical bone formation and modification in trabecular bone organisation. Bone 37(6):810-8

Genes, development and STEM* approaches to biology
Area of Biology
Techniques & Approaches
BioinformaticsBiophysicsGeneticsImage ProcessingSimulation / Modelling