Peripheral Quantitative Computed Tomography - pQCT

Muscle & Bone interrelation


The 3rd Dimension in Bone Density Assessment

Bone geometry

Conventional area-projected bone density measurement methods cannot adequately describe bone strength. This requires information about the bone geometry.


Mechanical Properties

Using pQCT technology, bone strength with respect to bending, torsion, and compression can be calculated from bone's cross sectional geometry. In addition the results are given as physically correct density units in g/cm³, whereas area projected techniques give only g/cm². Therefore the density values from the pQCT are independent from bone size. This is especially important for measurements on children. With the pQCT technology cortical and trabecular bone can be analysed separately and bone changes can be diagnosed reliably.


Geometry & Density in Clinical use

Tibia: Additional morphometric parameter like endosteal and periosteal perimeter and bone cross sectional area are accessible in vivo. pQCT measurements at tibia or radius are performed in a wide range in clinical routine. In paediatrics, the advantages of pQCT are particularly clear also due to the low radiation exposure. It is the only method that allows to differentiate bone growth from other processes. In preclinical research specialised ultra high resolution scanner are used in many pharmacological studies.

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The 3rd Dimension in Bone Density Assessment

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Realtion between muscular demands and resulting bone geometry

Quantify Msucle

However, pQCT is a decisive step ahead of conventional methods: It additionally quantifies the muscular properties and thus determines the relationship between muscle and bone. This allows to quantify the relation between muscle and bone which is essential for the step from Osteoporosis diagnostics to diagnostics of Sarcopenia, Dynapenia and Frailty.


Muscle & Bone

Essential for bone geometry and bone mass is the muscular demand on the bone. Julius Wolf postulated “bone geometry follows function” and Harold Frost specified the more detailed “Mechanostat” theorem. Therefore bone diagnostics must always be accompanied by a sufficient analysis of muscular properties and abilities. pQCT measurements (e.g. at 66% distal tibia) utilize this concept: it allows to quantify the relation between muscular demands and the resulting bone geometry and bone mass on the individual and site-specific level.


Primary & secondary Osteoporosis

This combined analysis is essential to differentiate for example between a primary Osteoporosis and the effects of diuse or lack of mobility. According to Frosts Mechanostat both will result in loss of bone mass. The difference, however, is found in the additional diagnostics of muscular requirements. Therefore it is essential to quantify the site-specific relation between muscle and bone. In this context the cross-sectional area of the muscle can be used as a surrogate for peak muscular forces, one of the key osteo-anabolic parameters. The examples on the right show on the top a healthy muscle-bone relation, in the middle a primary osteoporosis and on the bottom the long-term effects of a spinal cord injury (SCI).


Muscle Density

In addition, newest research results show that especially for Sarcopenia, Dynapenia and Frailty the parameter of muscle density (specific property of muscle tissue) in addition to the muscle geometry is essential. The reason for this is currently considered to be mainly the inter- and intra-muscular fatty infiltration. pQCT with its combination of geometry and density measurement is thus the diagnostic tool of choice, not least because of the extremely low radiation dose. To add even more details the pQCT based quantification of muscle and bone can be extended by the quantification of muscle function and performance based on the Leonardo Mechanography systems - for example using the complete pQCT Bone & Muscle Bundle.

Let Stratec pQCT convince you!

Numerous scientific studies prove the validity of Stratec pQCT. Benefit from over 30 years of experience in muscle and bone research and over 1000 scientific publications on pQCT worldwide.