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20-10-2010 | Bone health | Article

Peripheral HR-pQCT imaging reflects central skeletal bone measurements


Free abstract

MedWire News: Bone density, microstructure, and stiffness of the distal radius and tibia measured by high-resolution peripheral quantitative computed tomography (HR-pQCT) reflect stiffness of the lumbar spine and proximal femur, the sites of the most serious osteoporotic fractures, US researchers report.

This means that HR-pQCT is potentially useful in the clinical investigation of osteoporosis, say X Edward Guo (Columbia University, New York) and colleagues.

"HR-pQCT is a new in vivo imaging technique for assessing the 3D microstructure of cortical and trabecular bone at the distal radius and tibia," explain Guo and team, who investigated the extent to which HR-pQCT measurements of the peripheral skeleton (distal tibia and radius) reflect those of the lumbar spine and proximal femur using dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA), and central QCT (cQCT).

The researchers examined 69 premenopausal women using all three imaging modalities and found significant positive correlations between the stiffness of the distal radius and tibia, lumbar spine, and proximal femur.

The correlation was strongest between the distal radius and tibia, and was weakest between the lumbar spine and proximal femur.

The team points out that the associations observed were explained in part by significant correlations found between areal bone mineral density (aBMD), volumetric bone mineral density (vBMD), and cross-sectional area (CSA) at the multiple skeletal sites.

Furthermore, bone density and microstructural measurements of the distal radius and tibia by HR-pQCT were significantly associated with the stiffness of the proximal femur and lumbar spine.

Indeed, for prediction of femoral stiffness, integral vBMD and stiffness of the distal tibia by HR-pQCT significantly correlated with aBMD of the hip by DXA and vBMD of the hip by cQCT.

Similarly, trabecular vBMD and stiffness of the distal radius by HR-pQCT correlated with aBMD and vBMD at the lumbar spine as measured by DXA and cQCT, respectively.

Writing in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research, Gou and co-authors say that "this is the first study to address the biologic relevance of HR-pQCT images of the distal skeleton to the central skeleton."

They conclude that HR-pQCT-based images of peripheral skeletal sites are good indicators of stiffness at the lumbar spine and proximal femur.

MedWire ( is an independent clinical news service provided by Current Medicine Group, a trading division of Springer Healthcare Limited. © Springer Healthcare Ltd; 2010

By Laura Dean

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