Summary: Age-related changes of vertebra and iliac crest 3D microstructure were investigated, and we showed that they were in general similar. The 95th percentile of vertebral tra- becular thickness distribution increased with age for women. Surprisingly, vertebral and iliac crest bone microstructure was only weakly correlated (r=0.38 to 0.75), despite the overall similar age-related changes.
Introduction: The purposes of the study were to determine the age-related changes in iliac and vertebral bone microstructure for women and men over a large age range and to investigate the relationship between the bone microstructure at these skeletal sites.
Methods: Matched sets of transiliac crest bone biopsies and lumbar vertebral body (L2) specimens from 41 women (19– 96 years) and 39 men (23–95 years) were micro-computed tomography (μCT) scanned, and the 3D microstructure was quantified.
Results: For both women and men, bone volume per total volume (BV/TV), connectivity density (CD), and trabecular number (Tb.N) decreased significantly, while structure model index (SMI) and trabecular separation (Tb.Sp) increased sig- nificantly with age at either skeletal site. Vertebral trabecular thickness (Tb.Th) was independent of age for both women and men, while iliac Tb.Th decreased significantly with age for men, but not for women. In general, the vertebral and iliac age-related changes were similar. The 95th percentile of the Tb.Th distribution increased significantly with age for women but was independent of age for men at the vertebral body, while it was independent of age for either sex at the iliac crest. The Tb.Th probability density functions at the two skeletal sites became significantly more similar with age for women, but not for men. The microstructural parameters at the iliac crest and the vertebral bodies were only moderately correlated from r=0.38 for SMI in women to r=0.75 for Tb.Sp in men.
Conclusion: Age-related changes in vertebral and iliac bone microstructure were in general similar. The iliac and vertebral Tb.Th distributions became more similar with age for women. Despite the overall similar age-related changes in trabecular bone microstructure, the vertebral and iliac bone microstruc- tural measures were only weakly correlated (r=0.38 to 0.75).