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Keywords:

  • TRABECULAR MICROARCHITECTURE;
  • TRABECULAR TYPE;
  • INDIVIDUAL TRABECULA SEGMENTATION;
  • HIGH-RESOLUTION PERIPHERAL QUANTITATIVE COMPUTED TOMOGRAPHY;
  • MICRO–COMPUTED TOMOGRAPHY

Abstract

Individual trabecula segmentation (ITS), a rigorous model-independent 3D morphological analysis, has been developed to assess trabecular plate and rod microstructure separately based on micro–computed tomographic (µCT) images. We examined the influence of the limited spatial resolution, noise, and artifact of high-resolution peripheral quantitative CT (HR-pQCT) on ITS measurements of human tibial trabecular bone. In comparison with measurements from “gold standard” µCT images (25 µm), decreased spatial resolution (40, 60, and 80 µm) of µCT had minimal influence on the correlations of the scale of trabecular plates (ie, plate bone volume fraction, thickness, and surface area) and the orientation (ie, axial bone volume fraction) and structural type (ie, plate tissue fraction) of the trabecular network. ITS measurements of HR-pQCT images correlated significantly with those of µCT images at a similar voxel size (80 µm, r = 0.71–0.94); correlations were stronger for plate-related parameters, suggesting that measurements of trabecular rods are more subject to noise and artifact associated with HR-pQCT imaging technology. In comparison with measurements of “gold standard” µCT images, the percent absolute errors of HR-pQCT measurements such as axial and plate bone volume fraction, plate number and tissue fraction, and plate and rod thickness (3.5% to 10.3%) were comparable with those of bone volume fraction (9.3%). For both HR-pQCT and µCT images, measurements of the scale and junction densities of trabecular plates and orientation and structural type were strong and positive indicators of the elastic modulus of trabecular bone (r = 0.59–0.95). We conclude that ITS measurements of HR-pQCT images are highly reflective of trabecular bone microarchitecture from a biomechanical perspective. © 2011 American Society for Bone and Mineral Research