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The functional role of the ischiopubic membrane for the mechanical loading of the pubis in the domestic fowl (Gallus gallus)
Soft tissues other than muscles are supposed to be of mechanical importance, yet they are rarely integrated into finite element models. Here, we investigate the functional role of the ischiopubic membrane for the loading of the pubis of the domestic fowl using 2D finite element analysis. For this purpose, a specimen of the domestic fowl was dissected and soft tissues attaching to the pubis were studied in great detail. Muscles were removed and measurements taken. For the 2D finite element model, the outline was taken from the dissected specimen. Two 2D finite element models were generated: one without and one with ischiopubic membrane. The same muscular loading based on own measurements and electromyographic data was applied to both models. The model without ischiopubic membrane shows anteroventral bending deformation of the scapus pubis, resulting in high compressive and tensile principal stresses at the level of ultimate bone stress values. The model with ischiopubic membrane shows low compressive principal stresses in the pubis consistent with the levels of steady state remodelling of bone. Based on these results, the ischiopubic membrane of the domestic fowl potentially establishes a physiological loading of the pubis and therefore might be of great mechanical significance for the loading of the bone. Key words: bending loading; collagen fibres; finite element analysis; membrana ischiopubica; passive tension chord; physiological loading.