, Volume 469, Issue 8, pp 2170-2178
Date: 06 Jan 2011

Infrared Assessment of Bone Quality: A Review

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Abstract

Background

Bone strength depends on both bone quantity and quality. The former is routinely estimated in clinical settings through bone mineral density measurements but not the latter. Bone quality encompasses the structural and material properties of bone. Although its importance is appreciated, its contribution in determining bone strength has been difficult to precisely quantify partly because it is multifactorial and requires investigation of all bone hierarchical levels. Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy provides one way to explore these levels.

Questions/purposes

The purposes of our review were to (1) provide a brief overview of Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy as a way to establish bone quality, (2) review the major bone material parameters determined from Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, and (3) review the role of Fourier transform infrared microspectroscopic analysis in establishing bone quality.

Methods

We used the ISI Web of Knowledge database initially to identify articles containing the Boolean term “infrared” AND “bone.” We then focused on articles on infrared spectroscopy in bone-related journals.

Results

Infrared spectroscopy provides information on bone material properties. Their microspectroscopic versions allow one to establish these properties as a function of anatomic location, mineralization extent, and bone metabolic activity. It provides answers pertaining to the contribution of mineral to matrix ratio, mineral maturity, mineral carbonate substitution, and collagen crosslinks to bone strength. Alterations of bone material properties have been identified in disease (especially osteoporosis) not attainable by other techniques.

Conclusions

Infrared spectroscopic analysis is a powerful tool for establishing the important material properties contributing to bone strength and thus has helped better understand changes in fragile bone.

One or more of the authors (EPP) has received consultancies from Procter & Gamble Pharmaceuticals (Cincinnati, OH), Eli Lilly & Co (Indianapolis, IN), and Novartis AG (Basel, Switzerland) and is a member of the scientific board of Crescent Diagnostics Ltd (London, UK).