Regional variations in microstructural properties of vertebral trabeculae with structural groups

He Gong, Ming Zhang, Ling Qin, Kenneth Ka Ho Lee, Xia Guo, San-Qiang Shi

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

35 Citations (Scopus)


Study Design. Micro-computed tomography (CT) scanning to investigate three-dimensional microstructural properties of L4 vertebral bodies. Objective. To identify the regional variations in the three-dimensional microstructural properties of vertebral cancellous bones with respect to structural types for the prediction of related regional fracture risks. Summary of Background Data. The literature contains no reports on regional variations in morphologic properties of vertebral trabeculae with microstructural types, which may shed light on the patterns of osteoporotic fractures. Methods. Ninety cubic cancellous specimens were obtained from 6 normal L4 vertebral bodies of 6 male donors 62 to 70 years of age and were scanned using a high-resolution micro-CT system. These specimens were further divided into two groups according to the average structure model index (SMI) of the 15 trabecular specimens in each vertebral body. Adjustment for age differences was done for the microstructural parameters, i.e., bone volume fraction, trabecular number, trabecular thickness, structure model index, degree of architectural anisotropy, and connectivity density, to allow investigation on the regional variations in different transverse layers and vertical columns independent of age. Results. Trabecular specimens with lower mass were liable to form high-SMI group and the differences in all parameters reached significance level either between columns or between layers from two groups. Conclusions. The anterior column in the high-SMI group is more susceptible to vertebral body wedge fracture; and in the low-SMI group, off-axis bone damage is most harmful to the central column of vertebral trabeculae. The data obtained may help to identify the most critical locations of fracture risks at an early stage and provide a microstructural basis for the repair and clinical treatment of vertebral fractures.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)24-32
Number of pages9
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2006


  • Microstructural properties
  • Regional variations
  • Structure model type
  • Trabeculae
  • Vertebral body

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Clinical Neurology


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