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J Bone Miner Res. 2010 Apr;25(4):882-90. doi: 10.1359/jbmr.091020.

Postmenopausal women with osteopenia have higher cortical porosity and thinner cortices at the distal radius and tibia than women with normal aBMD: an in vivo HR-pQCT study.

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  • 1Department of Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering, University of Calgary, Calgary, Canada.


Increases in cortical porosity (Ct.Po) and decreases in cortical thickness (Ct.Th) are associated with increased bone fragility. The purpose of this study was to validate an autosegmentation method for high-resolution peripheral quantitative computed tomography (HR-pQCT) scans to measure Ct.Po and Ct.Th and use it to compare Ct.Po and Ct.Th between pre- and postmenopausal women with normal, osteopenic, and osteoporotic areal bone mineral density (aBMD). The Ct.Po and Ct.Th measurements were validated using cadaver forearms (n = 10) and micro-computed tomography (microCT) as the gold standard. The analysis was applied to distal radius and tibia HR-pQCT scans from a subset of participants from the Calgary, Alberta, cohort of the Canadian Multicentre Osteoporosis Study (n = 280, 18 to 90 years). Analysis of covariance compared Ct.Po and Ct.Th outcomes between 63 normal premenopausal (dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry femoral neck T-score > -1), 87 normal postmenopausal, 121 osteopenic postmenopausal, and 9 osteoporotic postmenopausal women. Linear regression analysis and Bland-Altman plots were used to assess the agreement between the HR-pQCT and microCT measurements, resulting in r(2) values of 0.80 for Ct.Po and 0.98 for Ct.Th. At both sites, Ct.Po was higher in postmenopausal (all groups) than in premenopausal women (3.2% to 12.9%, p < .001). Ct.Th was not significantly different between normal premenopausal and postmenopausal women at either site; however, both osteopenic and osteoporotic women had thinner (-12.8% to -30.3%, p < .01), more porous (2.1% to 8.1%, p < .001) cortices than normal postmenopausal women. Our method offers promise as a valuable tool to measure Ct.Po and Ct.Th in vivo and investigate associations among cortical bone structure, age, and disease status.

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