What exactly is mechanotransduction as the information varies between sources. Some sources indicate that mechanotransduction is the underlying principle where cells pull on the surface they grow on to test their stiffness, so they can stretch and facilitate cell growth and differentiation. Other sources indicate that mechanotransduction is how cells detect mechanical stimuli and turn them into chemical signals.

Is this the main reason titanium is biocompatible to replace bones because it has a low surface resistance and cells on stretch on it?

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    $\begingroup$ Welcome to BiologySE... since this is a homework question you should see the site's help section...biology.stackexchange.com/help/homework $\endgroup$ Apr 22, 2016 at 1:18
  • $\begingroup$ You have 2 questions, one in each paragraphe, and it would have been better to ask separately. For the 1st one, the two statements are not antagonistic: the second is the general definition of mechanotransduction. The 1st one is one of the phenomena that arise via mechanotransduction: a mechanical stimulus (resistance of substrate when exerting force on it = its stifness) is turned into signals that lead to a specific behaviour (spreading, differentiation) $\endgroup$
    – Joce
    May 23, 2016 at 9:00

1 Answer 1


First off, AOZ has a wonderful page about titanium alloy uses in medical applications you should read and that most of my info is coming from:

I think you're having a couple of easy to correct misconceptions. First, titanium alloys are used for medical implants and replacements because they're lightweight, stronger by tensile strength than steel and judged to be completely inert and immune to corrosion by all body fluids and tissue, and is thus wholly biocompatible. It's also non-magnetic, meaning you can even go through an MRI machine with it! The range of alloys that we're able to produce is also key to the widespread use of titanium in medical applications as different alloys can serve their purpose as anything from hip joints to jaw reconstruction bases to spinal fusion devices based on their composition.

But cells don't exactly "stretch on it" and in fact in many operations additional material is used to ensure that the host body is able to function with the implant. This includes the use of polymethyl methacrylate bone cement to ensure that implant joints stay in place, and the use of roughened bioactive surfaces (hydroxyapatite) to stimulate the integration of the bone and surrounding tissue onto the implant.

As far as mechanotransduction goes, the problem is that it covers an extremely wide range of topics so ascribing it only one definition can quickly cause issues between studies. I usually go off of Nature's definitions for these kinds of things, which in this case says that "Mechanotransduction refers to the processes through which cells sense and respond to mechanical stimuli by converting them to biochemical signals that elicit specific cellular responses" (1). If you peek at the studies highlighted on google scholar for mechanotransduction you can see that the range of work is extreme and that's why ascribing the term one specific meaning at this point is unrealistic.


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