Date of Completion


Embargo Period



Ruth A. Washington; Carol C. Pilbeam

Field of Study

Biomedical Engineering


Master of Science

Open Access

Open Access


Osteoblasts are sensitive to mechanical stimuli and release Prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) when exposed to a fluid shear stress. The exact mechanism by which these cells sense mechanical stress is not well established. A study of the stresses applied by the osteoblasts, under the influence of PGE2, on a hydrogel provided information regarding intercellular-communication via changes in the substrate surface pattern.

A digital image correlation program was developed using the Levenberg-Marquardt optimization algorithm to analyze images and compare the deformations between pairs of images. Comparisons of images before and after the addition of PE2 to the media showed differences in the substrate surface pattern, which was consistent with the morphological changes in the cells observed on the addition of prostaglandin E2. No changes were observed in the magnitudes of the stresses applied by the cells on the substrate surface. These observations also suggest that the MC3T3-E1 cells communicate with one another mechanically by changes in substrate surface pattern by redistribution of the stresses applied but not by changes in the magnitude of these stresses. The Levenberg-Marquardt algorithm was found to perform at par with the commonly used Newton-Raphson algorithm. This program provides an alternative method for future use in image analysis.

Major Advisor

Donald R. Peterson