Vertebral fractures are more strongly associated with specific bone density, structure, and strength parameters than with ureal BMD, but all of these variables are correlated. Introduction: It is unclear whether the association of areal BMD (aBMD) wilh vertebral fracture risk depends on bone density per se, bone macro- or microstructure, overall bone strength, or spine load/bone strength ratios. Materials and Methods: From an age-stratified sample of Rochester, MN, women, we identified 40 with a clinically diagnosed vertebral fracture (confirmed scmiquantitatively) caused by moderate trauma (cases; mean age. 78.6 ± 9.0 yr) and compared them with 40 controls with no osteoporotic fracture (mean age, 70.9 ± 6.8 yr). Lumbar spine volumetric BMD (vBMD) and geometry were assessed by central QCT, whereas microstructure was evaluated by high-resolution pQCT at the ultradistal radius. Vertebral failure load (-strength) was estimated from voxel-based finite element models, and the factor-of-risk (φ) was determined as the ratio of applied spine loads to failure load. Results: Spine loading (axial compressive force on L3) was similar in vertebral fracture cases and controls (e.g., for 90° forward flexion, 2639 versus 2706 N; age-adjusted p = 0.173). However, fracture cases had inferior values for most bone density and structure variables. Bone strength measures were also reduced, and the factor-of-risk was 35-37% greater (worse) among women with a vertebral fracture. By age-adjusted logistic regression, relative risks for the strongest fracture predictor in each of the five main variable categories were bone density (total lumbar spine vBMD: OR per SD change, 2.2; 95% CI, 1.1-4.3). bone geometry (vertebral apparent cortical thickness: OR, 2.1; 95% CI, 1.1-4.1), bone microstructure (none significant): bone strength ("cortical" [outer 2 mm] compressive strength: OR. 2.5; 95% CI, 1.3 4.8), and factor-of-risk (φ for 90° forward flexion/overall vertebral compressive strength: OR, 3.2; 95% CI, 1.4-7.5). These variables were correlated with spine aBMD (partial r, -0.32 to 0.75), but each was a stronger predictor of fracture in the logistic regression analyses. Conclusions: The association of aBMD with vertebral fracture risk is explained by its correlation with more specific bone density, structure, and strength parameters. These may allow deeper insights into fracture pathogenesis.
- Bone density
- Bone quality
- Finite element anulysis
- Vertebral fracture
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine