Longitudinal HR-pQCT and image registration detects endocortical bone loss in kidney transplantation patients

J Bone Miner Res. 2015 Mar;30(3):554-61. doi: 10.1002/jbmr.2358.


Patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD) who undergo kidney transplantation experience bone loss and increased risk of fracture. However, the mechanisms of this bone loss are unclear. Our objective was to use image registration to define the cortex to assess changes in cortical porosity (Ct.Po) in patients undergoing first-time kidney transplantation. We obtained serial measurements of parathyroid hormone (PTH) and bone turnover markers and used high-resolution peripheral quantitative computed tomography (HR-pQCT) to scan the distal radius and tibia in 31 patients (21 men, 10 women; aged 51.9 ± 13.4 years) at transplant and after 1 year. Baseline and 1-year images were aligned using a fully automated, intensity-based image registration framework. We compared three methods to define the cortical region of interest (ROI) and quantify the changes: 1) cortical bone was independently defined in baseline and follow-up scans; 2) cortical bone was defined as the common cortical ROI; and 3) the cortical ROI at baseline was carried forward to 1-year follow-up (baseline-indexed). By the independently defined ROI, Ct.Po increased 11.7% at the radius and 9.1% at the tibia, whereas by the common ROI, Ct.Po increased 14.6% at the radius and 9.1% at the tibia. By the baseline-indexed ROI, which provides insight into changes at the endocortical region, Ct.Po increased 63.4% at the radius and 17.6% at the tibia. We found significant relationships between changes in Ct.Po and bone formation and resorption markers at the radius. The strongest associations were found between markers and Ct.Po using the baseline-index method. We conclude that Ct.Po increases throughout the cortex after kidney transplant, and this increase is particularly marked at the endocortical surface. These methods may prove useful for all HR-pQCT longitudinal studies, particularly when changes are expected at the endocortical region.


Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Kidney Transplantation*
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Osteoporosis / diagnostic imaging*
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed / methods*