Correlation of mechanical properties within the equine third metacarpal with trabecular bending and multi-density micro-computed tomography data

P. Devin Leahy, Barbara S. Smith, Katrina L. Easton, Chris E. Kawcak, Jens C. Eickhoff, Snehal S. Shetye, Christian M. Puttlitz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Computed tomography (CT) data can be employed with respect to determining mechanical properties and has been used to predict parameters such as elastic modulus, yield strength, and ultimate strength of intact bone. Micro-computed tomography (μCT) possesses the resolution capable of detecting apparent bone density in extremely local regions and can characterize the trabecular structure. It has been asserted that this micro-structure is susceptible to micro-buckling and bending, which has a controversial role in predicting the global mechanical properties of bone. The current study measured the mechanical properties of relatively high apparent density bone from the equine distal third metacarpal. The mechanical properties were correlated with trabecular morphology parameters and apparent densities of localized regions obtained with μCT. These data were used to test two hypotheses: (1) accounting for trabecular bending using trabecular morphology parameters would provide better global mechanical property predictions than using only apparent density, and (2) regions of low apparent density dominate the overall mechanical behavior and provide greater correlation to the measured mechanical properties than regions of high apparent density. The data indicated that accounting for trabecular bending with morphological parameters resulted in stronger correlations to mechanical properties than correlations that relied only on apparent density (r2= 0.91 versus r2= 0.81). Low apparent density regions were more strongly correlated with mechanical properties than high apparent density regions (r2= 0.85 versus r2= 0.77), demonstrating the importance of selecting appropriate regions when attempting to predict mechanical properties from CT data.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1108-1113
Number of pages6
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Equine
  • Material properties
  • Micro-computed tomography
  • Morphology
  • Trabecular bone

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Histology


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