Magnetic Susceptibility and Fat Content in the Lumbar Spine of Postmenopausal Women With Varying Bone Mineral Density

Yihao Guo, Yanjun Chen, Xintao Zhang, Yingjie Mei, Peiwei Yi, Yi Wang, Qianjin Feng, Luciana La Tegola, Giuseppe Guglielmi, Xiaodong Zhang, Yanqiu Feng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Osteoporosis is a systemic disease characterized by low bone mass with increased fracture risk. Quantitative imaging biomarkers are important for accurately predicting fracture risk in patients with osteoporosis. Purpose: To prospectively study the changes of magnetic susceptibility and fat content in the lumbar spine of postmenopausal females with varying bone mineral density (BMD), and investigate their application to osteoporosis assessment. Study Type: Cohort. Population: In all, 108 postmenopausal females (58.2 ± 6.7 [range 45–79] years old). Field Strength/Sequence: Quantitative computed tomography (QCT) performed on a 64-detector CT scanner; quantitative susceptibility mapping (QSM) and mDixon quant MR imaging performed using a 3.0T imaging system with a 16-channel posterior coil. Assessment: QCT, QSM, and mDixon were performed in 108 postmenopausal females to measure vertebral BMD, susceptibility, and proton-density fat fraction (PDFF). Mean vertebral QSM and PDFF were compared among three BMD cohorts (normal, osteopenic, and osteoporotic). Receiver operating characteristic analyses were performed to evaluate the performance of QSM, PDFF, and QSM+PDFF for assessing osteoporosis. Statistical Tests: Parameters were compared using Kruskal–Wallis test and Pearson test. Results: Compared with that of the normal BMD group (–17.0 ± 43.6 ppb), vertebral QSM was significantly increased in osteopenia (30.8 ± 47.0 ppb, P < 0.001), and further increased in osteoporosis (82.0 ± 39.9 ppb, P < 0.001). QSM was negatively correlated with BMD (r = –0.70, P < 0.001) and positively correlated with PDFF (r = 0.64, P < 0.001). Compared with the area under the curve (AUC) of PDFF, the AUC of QSM was higher in differentiating between normal and osteoporosis (P = 0.44), and between osteopenia and osteoporosis (P = 0.13), but without statistical significance. The AUC of QSM+PDFF was significantly higher than that of PDFF for differentiating between osteopenia and osteoporosis (0.82 vs. 0.70, P = 0.039). Data Conclusion: The combination of vertebral susceptibility and fat content may be a promising marker for assessing postmenopausal osteoporosis. Level of Evidence: 1. Technical Efficacy: Stage 2. J. Magn. Reson. Imaging 2018.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Magnetic Resonance Imaging
Publication statusAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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