Validation of marrow fat assessment using noninvasive imaging with histologic examination of human bone samples

Luke Arentsen, Masashi Yagi, Yutaka Takahashi, Patrick J. Bolan, Melissa White, Douglas Yee, Susanta Hui

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Purpose: The marrow composition throughout the body is heterogeneous and changes with age. Due to heterogeneity, invasive biopsies of the iliac crest do not truly represent the complete physiological status, impeding the clinical effectiveness of this method. Therefore, we aim to provide verification for an in vivo imaging technique using co-registered histologic examinations for assessment of marrow adiposity. Methods: Five recently expired (i.e. < 24 h) human cadavers were scanned with a dual source CT (DECT) scanner in order to measure marrow fat in the lumbar vertebrae. These donors were also imaged using water-fat MRI (wfMRI) which was used to estimate the fraction of yellow marrow. After imaging, lumbar columns were excised and the superior and inferior aspects of 21 vertebrae were removed. The remaining center section was processed for histological examination to find the ratio of adipocyte volume per tissue volume (AV/TV). Results: Results of DECT and wfMRI had a high correlation (r = 0.88). AV/TV ranged from 0.18 to 0.75 with a mean (SD) of 0.36 (0.18). Inter-evaluator reliability for AV/TV was r > 0.984. There were similar correlations between AV/TV and the imaging modalities, DECT-derived MF and wfMRI (r = 0.802 and 0.772, respectively). Conclusions: A high MF variation was seen among the 25 vertebrae imaged. Both DECT and wfMRI have a good correlation with the histologic adipocyte proportion and can be used to measure MF. This makes longitudinal studies possible without painful, less-effective, invasive biopsies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)118-122
Number of pages5
StatePublished - Mar 1 2015

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the National Institutes of Health grants ( 1R01CA154491-01 ; RO3 AR055333-02 , and 1K12-HD055887-01 ), the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences of the National Institutes of Health Award Number 8UL1TR000114-02 , and Cancer Center Support Grant P30 CA77398 . Other grant support includes the Minnesota Medical Foundation (MMF grant #3874-9227-08 ) and seed grants from the university (Academic Health Center, Grant in Aid, Masonic Cancer Center breast cancer research). Susanta K Hui is a scholar of the BIRCWH (Building Interdisciplinary Careers in Women's Health) program. This work was supported by the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science Core to Core Program ( 23003 ).


  • DECT
  • Imaging co-registration
  • Marrow verification
  • Water-fat MRI

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