An Evaluation of Porosity and Bone Mineralization and Relationships with Fracture Risk in Human Tibiae

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The Ohio State University

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Bone quality assessment tools in clinical settings are used to evaluate fracture risk in living patients. Additionally, ex-vivo analyses of individual bones have assessed bone quality through examination of porosity and mineralization.1–3 However, a comprehensive understanding of relationships between demographics (e.g., age, sex, body size) and variables associated with bone quality is lacking. Understanding the factors contributing to bone quality will improve diagnosis of osteoporosis, a disease characterized by bone loss, and identify high fracture risk populations (e.g., older individuals, females). The objective of this study was to investigate the relationships between porosity and mineralization in human tibiae with sex, age, body size, and bone mineral density (BMD) and assess differences in bone quality assessment via methodology (clinical vs histological vs compositional). Sections from human tibiae were collected at the 66% site (n = 14) and the 15% site (n = 16) for porosity and mineralization analyses, respectively. Areal (aBMD) and volumetric (vBMD) BMD, collected via dual x-ray absorptiometry and quantitative computed tomography scans, values were compared to porosity, mineralization, and individual-level variables (e.g., sex, age, body size) to determine if these variables had relationships with these clinical bone quality assessment tools. Overall, few relationships were observed within this study; however, males (M=1.11 g/cm2) exhibited greater aBMD than females (M=0.93 g/cm2), mineralization had a negative correlation with age, and height and weight had positive correlations with vBMD. Future research should investigate porosity and mineralization utilizing a larger sample size, wider age range, and more varied body sizes per sex to better evaluate bone quality. Overall, a variety of bone- and individual-level variables should be used to make accurate assessments of bone quality to inform individuals' fracture risk.



Human Variation, Human Biology, Skeletal Biology, Tibia, Fracture Risk, Bone Quality