The purpose of this preliminary study is to explore the relationship between elastic modulus, bone mineral density (BMD), and trabecular microstructure in three dimensions. Twenty cubes of trabecular bone were processed from two lumbar vertebrae obtained from one individual. The BMD of each cube was measured by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry and peripheral quantitative computed tomography. Each cube was serially scanned by microcomputed tomography to produce three-dimensional data sets. By analyzing these data sets, three-dimensional trabecular microstructural indices of connectivity density and fractal dimension were calculated as well as histomorphometric parameters. The cubes were tested mechanically in a nondestructive manner for measurement of their elastic modulus. This preliminary study showed that: (1) bone mass index is correlated with mechanical properties, with coefficients of correlation ranging from 0.552 to 0.601; and (2) when controlling for BMD, no association could be detected between measures of structural complexity (connectivity density and fractal dimension) and elastic modulus in the craniocaudal direction of human vertebral bodies.