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Assessing cortical bone mechanical properties using collagen proton fraction from ultrashort echo time magnetization transfer (UTE-MT) MRI modeling.

  • Author(s): Jerban, Saeed;
  • Ma, Yajun;
  • Dorthe, Erik W;
  • Kakos, Lena;
  • Le, Nicole;
  • Alenezi, Salem;
  • Sah, Robert L;
  • Chang, Eric Y;
  • D'Lima, Darryl;
  • Du, Jiang
  • et al.
Abstract

Cortical bone shows as a signal void when using conventional clinical magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Ultrashort echo time MRI (UTE-MRI) can acquire high signal from cortical bone, thus enabling quantitative assessments. Magnetization transfer (MT) imaging combined with UTE-MRI can indirectly assess protons in the organic matrix of bone. This study aimed to examine UTE-MT MRI techniques to estimate the mechanical properties of cortical bone. A total of 156 rectangular human cortical bone strips were harvested from the tibial and femoral midshafts of 43 donors (62 ± 22 years old, 62 specimens from females, 94 specimens from males). Bone specimens were scanned using UTE-MT sequences on a clinical 3 T MRI scanner and on a micro-computed tomography (μCT) scanner. A series of MT pulse saturation powers (400°, 600°, 800°) and frequency offsets (2, 5, 10, 20, 50 kHz) was used to measure the macromolecular fraction (MMF) utilizing a two-pool MT model. Failure mechanical properties of the bone specimens were measured using 4-point bending tests. MMF from MRI results showed significant strong correlations with cortical bone porosity (R = -0.72, P < 0.01) and bone mineral density (BMD) (R = +0.71, P < 0.01). MMF demonstrated significant moderate correlations with Young modulus, yield stress, and ultimate stress (R = 0.60-0.61, P < 0.01). These results suggest that the two-pool UTE-MT model focusing on the organic matrix of bone can potentially serve as a novel tool to detect the variations of bone mechanical properties and intracortical porosity.

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