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Phys Med Biol. 2006 Dec 7;51(23):6187-98. Epub 2006 Nov 9.

Prediction of mechanical properties of trabecular bone using quantitative MRI.

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Department of Physics, University of Kuopio, POB 1627, FI-70211 Kuopio, Finland.


Techniques for quantitative magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) have been developed for non-invasive estimation of the mineral density and structure of trabecular bone. The R*(2) relaxation rate (i.e. 1/T*(2)) is sensitive to bone mineral density (BMD) via susceptibility differences between trabeculae and bone marrow, and by binarizing MRI images, structural variables, such as apparent bone volume fraction, can be assessed. In the present study, trabecular bone samples of human patellae were investigated in vitro at 1.5 T to determine the ability of MRI-derived variables (R*(2) and bone volume fraction) to predict the mechanical properties (Young's modulus, yield stress and ultimate strength). Further, the MRI variables were correlated with reference measurements of volumetric BMD and bone area fraction as determined with a clinical pQCT system. The MRI variables correlated significantly (p < 0.01) with the mechanical variables (r = 0.32-0.46), BMD (r = 0.56) and bone structure (r = 0.51). A combination of R*(2) and MRI-derived bone volume fraction further improved the prediction of yield stress and ultimate strength. Although pQCT showed a trend towards better prediction of the mechanical properties, current results demonstrate the feasibility of combined MR imaging of marrow susceptibility and bone volume fraction in predicting the mechanical strength of trabecular bone and bone mineral density.

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