The Initial Slope of the Variogram, Foundation of the Trabecular Bone Score, Is Not or Poorly Associated With Vertebral Strength

Maquer, Ghislain Bernard; Lu, Yongtao; Dall'Ara, Enrico; Chevalier, Yan; Krause, Matthias; Yang, Lang; Eastell, Richard; Lippuner, Kurt; Zysset, Philippe (2016). The Initial Slope of the Variogram, Foundation of the Trabecular Bone Score, Is Not or Poorly Associated With Vertebral Strength. Journal of bone and mineral research, 31(2), pp. 341-346. Wiley-Blackwell 10.1002/jbmr.2610

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Trabecular bone score (TBS) rests on the textural analysis of DXA to reflect the decay in trabecular structure characterising osteoporosis. Yet, its discriminative power in fracture studies remains incomprehensible as prior biomechanical tests found no correlation with vertebral strength. To verify this result possibly due to an unrealistic set-up and to cover a wide range of loading scenarios, the data from three previous biomechanical studies using different experimental settings was used. They involved the compressive failure of 62 human lumbar vertebrae loaded 1) via intervertebral discs to mimic the in vivo situation (“full vertebra”), 2) via the classical endplate embedding (“vertebral body”) or 3) via a ball joint to induce anterior wedge failure (“vertebral section”). HR-pQCT scans acquired prior testing were used to simulate anterior-posterior DXA from which areal bone mineral density (aBMD) and the initial slope of the variogram (ISV), the early definition of TBS, were evaluated. Finally, the relation of aBMD and ISV with failure load (Fexp) and apparent failure stress (σexp) was assessed and their relative contribution to a multi-linear model was quantified via ANOVA. We found that, unlike aBMD, ISV did not significantly correlate with Fexp and σexp, except for the “vertebral body” case (r2 = 0.396, p = 0.028). Aside from the “vertebra section” set-up where it explained only 6.4% of σexp (p = 0.037), it brought no significant improvement to aBMD. These results indicate that ISV, a replica of TBS, is a poor surrogate for vertebral strength no matter the testing set-up, which supports the prior observations and raises a fortiori the question of the deterministic factors underlying the statistical relationship between TBS and vertebral fracture risk.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


04 Faculty of Medicine > Pre-clinic Human Medicine > Institute for Surgical Technology & Biomechanics ISTB [discontinued]
04 Faculty of Medicine > Department of Orthopaedic, Plastic and Hand Surgery (DOPH) > Clinic of Osteoporosis

UniBE Contributor:

Maquer, Ghislain Bernard; Lippuner, Kurt and Zysset, Philippe


500 Science > 570 Life sciences; biology
600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health
600 Technology > 620 Engineering








Ghislain Bernard Maquer

Date Deposited:

19 Aug 2015 10:03

Last Modified:

06 Jun 2017 17:19

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