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pQCT provides better prediction of canine femur breaking load than does DXA.

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  • 1Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology, Rush Medical College, Chicago, IL, USA.


Our study was designed to examine the validity of dual energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) and peripheral quantitative computed tomography (pQCT) measurements as predictors of whole bone breaking strength in beagle femora. DXA was used to determine the bone mineral content, bone area, and 'areal' bone mineral density. PQCT was used to determine the cross-sectional moments of inertia, volumetric densities of the bone, and to calculate bone strength indices based on bone geometry and density. A three-point bending mechanical test was used to determine maximal load. Three variables from the pQCT data set explained 88% of the variance in maximal load, with the volumetric bone mineral density explaining 32% of the variance. The addition of the volumetric cortical density increased the adjusted r(2) to 0.601 (p=0.001) and the addition of an index created by multiplying volumetric cortical bone density by the maximum cross-sectional moment of inertia made further significant (p<0.001) improvements to an adjusted r(2) of 0.877. In comparison, when only the DXA variables were considered in a multiple regression model, areal bone mineral density was the only variable entered and explained only 51% (p<0.001) of the variance in maximal load. These results suggest that pQCT can better predict maximal load in whole beagle femora since pQCT provides information on the bone's architecture in addition to its volumetric density.

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