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In vivo evaluation of the presence of bone marrow in cortical porosity in postmenopausal osteopenic women.


This is the first observational study examining cortical porosity in vivo in postmenopausal osteopenic women and to incorporate data from two different imaging modalities to further examine the nature of cortical porosity. The goal of this study was to combine high-resolution peripheral computed tomography (HR-pQCT) images, which contain high spatial resolution information of the cortical structure, and magnetic resonance (MR) images, which allow the visualization of soft tissues such as bone marrow, to observe the amount of cortical porosity that contains bone marrow in postmenopausal osteopenic women. The radius of 49 and the tibia of 51 postmenopausal osteopenic women (age 56 +/- 3.7) were scanned using both HR-pQCT and MR imaging. A normalized mutual information registration algorithm was used to obtain a three-dimensional rigid transform which aligned the MR image to the HR-pQCT image. The aligned images allowed for the visualization of bone marrow in cortical pores. From the HR-pQCT image, the percent cortical porosity, the number of cortical pores, and the size of each cortical pore was determined. By overlaying the aligned MR and HR-pQCT images, the percent of cortical pores containing marrow, the number of cortical pores containing marrow, and the size of each cortical pore containing marrow were measured. While the amount of cortical porosity did not vary greatly between subjects, the type of cortical pore, containing marrow vs. not containing marrow, varied highly between subjects. The results suggest that cortical pore spaces contain components of varying composition, and that there may be more than one mechanism for the development of cortical porosity.

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