Background: To evaluate the feasibility of a micro-image based finite element model to determine the efficacy of sequential treatments on the bone quality in a rat osteoporosis model.
Methods: Rat osteoporosis and treated osteoporosis models were established with the bone loss, restore and maintain concept. Thirty Sprague-Dawley rats were used in this study. A sham operation or ovariectomy was performed at 20 weeks after birth, which was followed by the respective sequential trials as follows: (1) sham-operation only, (2) ovariectomy only, (3) ovariectomized rats with parathyroid hormone maintenance, (4) ovariectomized rats treated with PTH for 5 weeks and then withdrawal, (5) ovariectomized rats treated with PTH for 5 weeks and then with 17 beta-estradiol, and (6) ovariectomized rats treated with parathyroid hormone for 5 weeks and then treated with zoledronate. The histomorphometry indices were determined using the micro-images from a micro-computed tomogram. Finite element analysis was carried out to determine the mechanical properties (Stiffness and Young's modulus) of the vertebra bodies. The differences in properties between the groups were compared using ANOVA and a Bonferroni's multiple group comparison procedure.
Results: The histomorphometry and mechanical properties were significantly better in groups (3) and (6) than in the groups (1) and (2) (p < 0.05). The stiffness (σs) and Young's modulus (E) was highest in group (3) following by group (6).
Conclusions: Finite element analysis based on micro-images provides a useful tool that reflects the changes in micro-structural and mechanical properties of a rat vertebral body with the bone loss, restore and maintain concept.