Assessment of bone strength at the radius by micro-finite element analysis (muFEA) has already been associated with wrist fractures. In this study, the analysis has been extended to the distal tibia, and to a larger group of subjects to examine the association with several types of fragility fractures. We have compared muFEA based on in vivo HR-pQCT measurements of BMD and microarchitecture at the radius and tibia, in a case-control study involving 101 women with prevalent fragility fracture and 101 age-matched controls, from the OFELY cohort. Areal BMD was measured by DXA at the radius and the hip. All parameters were analyzed in a principal component (PC) analysis (PCA), and associations between PCs and fractures were computed as odds ratios (OR [95% CI]) per SD change. Radius (tibia) PCA revealed three independent components explaining 76% (77%) of the total variability of bone characteristics. The first PC describing bone strength and quantity, explained 50% (46%) of variance with an OR=1.84 [1.27-2.67] (2.92 [1.73-4.93]). The second PC including trabecular microarchitecture, explained 16% (10%) of variance, with OR=1.29 [0.90-1.87] (1.11 [0.82-1.52]). The third PC related to load distribution explained 10% (20%) of variance, with OR=1.54 [1.06-2.24] (1.32 [0.89-1.96]). Moreover, at the radius, vertebral fractures were associated with trabecular microarchitecture PC with OR=1.86 [1.14-3.03], whereas nonvertebral fractures were associated with bone strength and quantity PC with OR=2.03 [1.36-3.02]. At the tibia, both vertebral (OR=2.92 [1.61-5.28]) and nonvertebral fracture (2.64 [1.63-4.27]) were associated to bone strength and quantity PC. In conclusion, muFEA parameters at the radius and tibia were associated with all types of fragility fractures. We have also shown that muFEA parameters obtained with distal tibia data were associated with prevalent fractures with a similar magnitude that with parameters obtained at the radius.
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