Popp, Albrecht W.; Buffat, Helene; Eberli, Ursula; Lippuner, Kurt; Ernst, Manuela; Richards, R. Geoff; Stadelmann, Vincent A.; Windolf, Markus
BACKGROUND: Areal bone mineral density is predictive for fracture risk. Microstructural bone parameters evaluated at the appendicular skeleton by high-resolution peripheral quantitative computed tomography (HR-pQCT) display differences between healthy patients and fracture patients. With the simple geometry of the cortex at the distal tibial diaphysis, a cortical index of the tibia combining material and mechanical properties correlated highly with bone strength ex vivo. The trabecular bone score derived from the scan of the lumbar spine by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) correlated ex vivo with the micro architectural parameters. It is unknown if these microstructural correlations could be made in healthy premenopausal women. METHODS: Randomly selected women between 20-40 years of age were examined by DXA and HR-pQCT at the standard regions of interest and at customized sub regions to focus on cortical and trabecular parameters of strength separately. For cortical strength, at the distal tibia the volumetric cortical index was calculated directly from HR-pQCT and the areal cortical index was derived from the DXA scan using a Canny threshold-based tool. For trabecular strength, the trabecular bone score was calculated based on the DXA scan of the lumbar spine and was compared with the corresponding parameters derived from the HR-pQCT measurements at radius and tibia. RESULTS: Seventy-two healthy women were included (average age 33.8 years, average BMI 23.2 kg/m(2)). The areal cortical index correlated highly with the volumetric cortical index at the distal tibia (R = 0.798). The trabecular bone score correlated moderately with the microstructural parameters of the trabecular bone. CONCLUSION: This study in randomly selected premenopausal women demonstrated that microstructural parameters of the bone evaluated by HR-pQCT correlated with the DXA derived parameters of skeletal regions containing predominantly cortical or cancellous bone. Whether these indexes are suitable for better predictions of the fracture risk deserves further investigation.