Central region-of-interest analysis of lumbar spine densitometry demonstrates lower bone mass in older rhesus monkeys

D. Krueger, H. Todd, A. Haffa, J. Bruner, D. Yandow, N. Binkley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Osteoarthritis (OA) spuriously elevates spine bone mineral density (BMD) as measured by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA). This study documents spinal OA prevalence in adult female rhesus monkeys, and evaluates a custom central region-of-interest (CROI) analysis technique designed to minimize OA effects on BMD measurement. Lumbar spine radiographs were obtained on 71 animals, age 10–37 years. OA degree was blindly scored as none, minimal, or moderate/severe. Moderate/severe OA was not observed before age 19, but was present in 66% of older animals. Subsequently, lumbar spine (L2–4) BMD was determined by standard DXA analysis and manual placement of 0.92 cm2 CROIs in two groups of female rhesus monkeys. One group (eight control, eight postovariectomy, ages 10–19 years) was assessed longitudinally, the second (n = 90, ages 10–37) cross-sectionally. Measured bone loss following ovariectomy (8.1% standard analysis, 11.5% CROI) was comparable with both techniques. By contrast, CROI demonstrated lower bone mass with age (p < 0.0001), whereas only a trend (p = 0.06) was observed with standard analysis. When World Health Organization criteria were applied, 42% of animals ≥age 19 years were classified as osteopenic/osteoporotic by standard analysis compared with 67% by CROI. All “normal” animals reclassified as osteopenic/osteoporotic by CROI had OA. In conclusion, female rhesus monkeys often develop spinal OA with advancing age. CROI analysis demonstrated lower bone density in older monkeys and was as sensitive to estrogen-depletion bone loss as standard methodology. This suggests that alternative analysis techniques, such as CROI, may be more appropriate to evaluate bone density in nonhuman primates, and potentially in people.
Original languageAmerican English
StatePublished - 1999
Externally publishedYes


  • Densitometry
  • Osteoporosis
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Bone density
  • Macaca mulatta


  • Medicine and Health Sciences
  • Anatomy

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