BMD and the mechanical competence of bones in the canine skeleton

D. Pienkowski, T. M. Doers, R. Maitra, M. C. Monier-Faugere, H. H. Malluche

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


To determine the usefulness of bone mineral density (BMD) as a consistent marker of bones mechanical competence, the relationships among the BMD and the mechanical properties of bones in the canine model were quantified. The BMD and load-deformation relationships of the long bones (mid-shaft tibiae and mid-shaft femora) and the vertebrae (whole bodies and cancellous cores) from 248 beagles were studied in vitro by using dual energy X-ray absorptiometry and torsional or compressive mechanical testing, respectively. BMD explained half to two-thirds (r2 = 0.54-0.64, p < 0.01) of the maximum compressive load-bearing capabilities of the vertebrae, but BMD was unable to explain the torsional mechanics of the long bones. Tibial and femoral BMD data were correlated with each other (r2 = 0.66, p < 0.0001) and to a slightly lesser extent (r2 = 0.5, p < 0.001) with the BMD of the vertebrae, but long bone torsional mechanics were uncorrelated with vertebral compressive mechanics. Although the mechanical competence of bone is site- specific, BMD of bones from different skeletal sites is correlated. Most importantly, BMD is a useful partial determinant of the vertebrae's compressive mechanical competence (and propensity to fracture), but it cannot predict the torsional mechanical competence of long bones.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)186-194
Number of pages9
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1999


  • Bone fracture
  • Bone imaging
  • Bone mineral density
  • Bone strength
  • Osteoporosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (all)


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