Altered collagen chemical compositional structure in osteopenic women with past fractures: A case-control Raman spectroscopic study

Gurjit S. Mandair, Mohammed P. Akhter, Francis W.L. Esmonde-White, Joan M. Lappe, Susan P. Bare, William R. Lloyd, Jason P. Long, Jessica Lopez, Kenneth M. Kozloff, Robert R. Recker, Michael D. Morris

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4 Scopus citations


Incidences of low-trauma fractures among osteopenic women may be related to changes in bone quality. In this blinded, prospective-controlled study, compositional and heterogeneity contributors of bone quality to fracture risk were examined. We hypothesize that Raman spectroscopy can differentiate between osteopenic women with one or more fractures (cases) from women without fractures (controls). This study involved the Raman spectroscopic analysis of cortical and cancellous bone composition using iliac crest biopsies obtained from 59-cases and 59-controls, matched for age (62.0 ± 7.5 and 61.7 ± 7.3 years, respectively, p = 0.38) and hip bone mineral density (BMD, 0.827 ± 0.083 and 0.823 ± 0.072 g/cm3, respectively, p = 0.57). Based on aggregate univariate case-control and odds ratio based logistic regression analyses, we discovered two Raman ratiometric parameters that were predictive of past fracture risk. Specifically, 1244/1268 and 1044/959 cm−1 ratios, were identified as the most differential aspects of bone quality in cortical cases with odds ratios of 0.617 (0.406–0.938 95% CI, p = 0.024) and 1.656 (1.083–2.534 95% CI, p = 0.020), respectively. Both 1244/1268 and 1044/959 cm−1 ratios exhibited moderate sensitivity (59.3–64.4%) but low specificity (49.2–52.5%). These results suggest that the organization of mineralized collagen fibrils were significantly altered in cortical cases compared to controls. In contrast, compositional and heterogeneity parameters related to mineral/matrix ratios, B-type carbonate substitutions, and mineral crystallinity, were not significantly different between cases and controls. In conclusion, a key outcome of this study is the significant odds ratios obtained for two Raman parameters (1244/1268 and 1044/959 cm−1 ratios), which from a diagnostic perspective, may assist in the screening of osteopenic women with suspected low-trauma fractures. One important implication of these findings includes considering the possibility that changes in the organization of collagen compositional structure plays a far greater role in postmenopausal women with osteopenic fractures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number115962
StatePublished - Jul 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Histology
  • Physiology


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