Our overall goal is to clarify the influence of function on the growth and ultimate morphology of the head. The mechanical environment influences skull growth at every level from individual cells to gross structure. Although usually neglected, soft tissues such as muscles, ligaments and cartilages play a critical role in cranial mechanics and growth. This proposal focuses on two ways in which soft tissue mechanics may direct the growth of skull bones, using the pig as a model. First, the osteogenic activity of the periosteum is linked to its blood supply, which originates from muscles and ligaments. We hypothesize that the deformation of these soft tissues during function can modify periosteal perfusion.
In Specific Aim 1, new methodology will be employed to map the three-dimensional deformation of muscles and ligaments during awake mastication and to test whether buccinator contraction places significant pressure on the alveolar periosteum.
Specific Aim 2 addresses the periosteal vascular system directly with both immunocytochemical assays of cellular activity and in vivo measures of blood flow. These studies will provide evidence for or against a causal linkage between soft tissue behavior and periosteal perfusion. The second way in which soft tissues may direct skull growth involves the nasal septum. Despite being an unmineralized cartilage, the septum has been considered an important mechanical support of the face. Moreover, forces generated by septal growth are claimed to separate the sutures between facial bones, causing compensatory growth. These assertions have never been tested directly.
In Specific Aim 3 a novel indwelling transducer will be used to reveal the mechanical loading pattern of the septum and to investigate the timing of its growth in relation to that of facial sutures.
Specific Aim 4 will test the mechanical plausibility of the hypothesis that the septum controls facial growth by comparing the viscoelastic stiffness of the cartilaginous septum to the resistance of the facial sutures. Taken together, these studies will develop new techniques for monitoring soft tissue function, provide fundamental new information about the mechanical behavior of the head, and test hypotheses about how soft tissues influence skull growth. ? ?

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Dental & Craniofacial Research (NIDCR)
Research Project (R01)
Project #
Application #
Study Section
Oral Biology and Medicine Subcommittee 1 (OBM)
Program Officer
Kusiak, John W
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
University of Washington
Schools of Dentistry
United States
Zip Code
Al Dayeh, Ayman A; Herring, Susan W (2014) Cellular proliferation in the nasal septal cartilage of juvenile minipigs. J Anat 225:604-13
Al Dayeh, Ayman A; Herring, Susan W (2014) Compressive and tensile mechanical properties of the porcine nasal septum. J Biomech 47:154-61
Al Dayeh, Ayman A; Rafferty, Katherine L; Egbert, Mark et al. (2013) Real-time monitoring of the growth of the nasal septal cartilage and the nasofrontal suture. Am J Orthod Dentofacial Orthop 143:773-83
Herring, Susan W; Rafferty, Katherine L; Liu, Zi Jun et al. (2011) Mastication and the postorbital ligament: dynamic strain in soft tissues. Integr Comp Biol 51:297-306
Ochareon, Pannee; Herring, Susan W (2011) Cell replication in craniofacial periosteum: appositional vs. resorptive sites. J Anat 218:285-97
Dutra, Eliane H; Caria, Paulo H F; Rafferty, Katherine L et al. (2010) The buccinator during mastication: A functional and anatomical evaluation in minipigs. Arch Oral Biol 55:627-38
Burn, A K; Herring, S W; Hubbard, R et al. (2010) Dietary consistency and the midline sutures in growing pigs. Orthod Craniofac Res 13:106-13
Al Dayeh, Ayman A; Rafferty, Katherine L; Egbert, Mark et al. (2009) Deformation of nasal septal cartilage during mastication. J Morphol 270:1209-18
Herring, Susan W (2008) Mechanical influences on suture development and patency. Front Oral Biol 12:41-56
Ochareon, Pannee; Herring, Susan W (2007) Growing the mandible: role of the periosteum and its cells. Anat Rec (Hoboken) 290:1366-76

Showing the most recent 10 out of 45 publications