Composition and micromechanical properties of the femoral neck compact bone in relation to patient age, sex and hip fracture occurrence

T. Kochetkova; M. S. Hanke; M. Indermaur; A. Groetsch; S. Remund; B. Neuenschwander; J. Michler; K. A. Siebenrock; P. Zysset; J. Schwiedrzik

Bone 177 (2023) 116920-116920

Current clinical methods of bone health assessment depend to a great extent on bone mineral density (BMD) measurements. However, these methods only act as a proxy for bone strength and are often only carried out after the fracture occurs. Besides BMD, composition and tissue-level mechanical properties are expected to affect the whole bone’s strength and toughness. While the elastic properties of the bone extracellular matrix (ECM) have been extensively investigated over the past two decades, there is still limited knowledge of the yield properties and their relationship to composition and architecture. In the present study, morphological, compositional and micropillar compression bone data was collected from patients who underwent hip arthroplasty. Femoral neck samples from 42 patients were collected together with anonymous clinical information about age, sex and primary diagnosis (coxarthrosis or hip fracture). The femoral neck cortex from the inferomedial region was analyzed in a site-matched manner using a combination of micromechanical testing (nanoindentation, micropillar compression) together with micro-CT and quantitative polarized Raman spectroscopy for both morphological and compositional characterization. Mechanical properties, as well as the sample-level mineral density, were constant over age. Only compositional properties demonstrate weak dependence on patient age: decreasing mineral to matrix ratio (p = 0.02, R2 = 0.13, 2.6 % per decade) and increasing amide I sub-peak ratio I∼1660/I∼1683 (p = 0.04, R2 = 0.11, 1.5 % per decade). The patient’s sex and diagnosis did not seem to influence investigated bone properties. A clear zonal dependence between interstitial and osteonal cortical zones was observed for compositional and elastic bone properties (p < 0.0001). Site-matched microscale analysis confirmed that all investigated mechanical properties except yield strain demonstrate a positive correlation with the mineral fraction of bone. The output database is the first to integrate the experimentally assessed microscale yield properties, local tissue composition and morphology with the available patient clinical information. The final dataset was used for bone fracture risk prediction in-silico through the principal component analysis and the Naïve Bayes classification algorithm. The analysis showed that the mineral to matrix ratio, indentation hardness and micropillar yield stress are the most relevant parameters for bone fracture risk prediction at 70 % model accuracy (0.71 AUC). Due to the low number of samples, further studies to build a universal fracture prediction algorithm are anticipated with the higher number of patients (N > 200). The proposed classification algorithm together with the output dataset of bone tissue properties can be used for the future comparison of existing methods to evaluate bone quality as well as to form a better understanding of the mechanisms through which bone tissue is affected by aging or disease.