MicroCT-based quantification of termini in human trabecular bone
14 November 2019 (online)
Osteoporosis is a skeletal condition that affects bone density and bone quality and develops over a latent period before symptoms appear (Glaser & Kaplan, 1997). Postmenopausal women presenting osteoporotic spine fractures have shown a deterioration of trabecular bone microstructure in the vertebrae with a loss of trabecular connections leading to unconnected trabeculae, termed termini. These termini cannot transfer any mechanical load. Previous studies based on up to 300 µm thick trabecular bone slices showed termini in vertebrae are regionally distributed and more common in women [Aaron et al. 2015]. Currently, it remains unclear when these termini develop and if menopause is an influencing factor.
Materials and methods:
This study aims to quantify termini in T12 vertebrae from two different groups: early menopausal (age group: 45 – 55) and postmenopausal women (age group: 60 – 80). First, bone cores from vertebrae will be scanned with high-resolution micro-computed tomography. Second, a three-dimensional analysis algorithm will be applied to the scanned structure to quantify the proportion of volume of termini within the trabecular network of the specimen.
We expect to find differences in the number of termini and the relative proportion of termini between the early menopausal and the postmenopausal group. A difference in termini volume would likely have consequences for the mechanical stability, but would not be detected by conventional bone densitometry.
The expected results could allow the development of improved diagnostic methods since they would provide further knowledge regarding the relation between menopausal stage and trabecular connectivity, which is relevant for interpreting bone densitometry measurements.
Osteoporosis, Menopause, Vertebrae, Termini, Trabecular connectivity.