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Bone. 1992;13(4):327-30.

Trabecular bone pattern factor--a new parameter for simple quantification of bone microarchitecture.

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  • 1Department of Bone Pathology/Center for Biomechanic UKE, University of Hamburg, Germany.


The stability of trabecular bone depends not only on the amount of bone tissue, but also on the three-dimensional orientation and connectedness of trabeculae, which is summarized as trabecular microarchitecture. In previous studies we could demonstrate that in three-dimensional bone tissue the relation of trabecular plates to rods is reflected in the ratio of concave to convex surfaces of the bone pattern in two-dimensional bone sections. For the quantification of the connectedness of these bone patterns we developed a new histomorphometric parameter called Trabecular Bone Pattern factor (TBPf). The basic idea is that the connectedness of structures can be described by the relation of convex to concave surfaces. A lot of concave surfaces represent a well connected spongy lattice, whereas a lot of convex surfaces indicate a badly connected trabecular lattice in two-dimensional sections. By means of an automatic image analysis system we measure trabecular bone area (A1) and perimeter (P1). A second measurement of these two parameters (now A2 and P2) is done after a simulated dilatation of trabeculae on the screen. This dilatation results in a characteristic change of bone area and perimeter depending on the relation of convex to concave surfaces. TBPf is defined as a quotient of the difference of the first and the second measurement: TBPf = (P1 - P2)/(A1 - A2). First measurements of TBPf in 192 iliac crest bone biopsies of autopsy cases show that there is not only age-related loss of bone volume, but also a decrease of trabecular connectedness. By means of TBPf we can demonstrate a significant difference in the age-related loss of trabecular connectivity between male and female individuals.

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