Regional variations in the apparent and tissue-level mechanical parameters of vertebral trabecular bone with aging using micro-finite element analysis

He Gong, Ming Zhang, Ling Qin, Yajun Hou

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)


The aim of this study was to obtain the apparent and tissue-level mechanical parameters of vertebral cancellous bones using micro-finite element analysis, and to identify the regional variations and their relative differences with respect to aging. Ninety trabecular specimens were obtained from six normal L4 vertebral bodies of six male cadavers in two age groups, three aged 62 years and three aged 69 years, and then were scanned using a high-resolution micro-Computed Tomography (micro-CT) system. The obtained micro-CT reconstruction models were then converted to micro-finite element models. Micro-finite element analyses were done to determine the apparent Young's moduli and tissue-level Von Mises stress distribution for each trabecular specimen on the longitudinal direction, and medial-lateral and anterior-posterior directions (transverse directions), respectively. Regional variations about the mechanical parameters at both apparent and tissue levels in different transverse layers and vertical columns within and between the two age groups were then analyzed. The results showed significant decreases in the apparent Young's moduli in each direction with aging, and those in the two transverse directions decreased more with aging compared with the longitudinal direction. Furthermore, there were no statistically significant differences between the mechanical parameters in the two transverse directions in both age groups. This study offered an insight into the distributions and variations of mechanical properties within a vertebral body. The mechanical parameters calculated from this study may help in a better understanding of regional fracture risks and the vertebral fracture mechanism in the prevention of osteoporotic fracture in elder individuals.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1622-1631
Number of pages10
JournalAnnals of Biomedical Engineering
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2007


  • Apparent level
  • Longitudinal direction
  • Micro-finite element analysis
  • Tissue level
  • Trabecular bone
  • Transverse direction
  • Vertebral body

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomedical Engineering

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