Mechanical properties of bone are determined not only by bone mineral density (BMD), but also by tissue trabecular structure and organic composition. Impedance spectroscopy has shown potential to diagnose trabecular bone BMD and strength, however, the relationships between organic composition and electrical and dielectric properties have not been systematically investigated. To investigate these issues organic composition of 26 human trabecular bone samples harvested from the distal femur and proximal tibia was determined and compared with relative permittivity, loss factor, conductivity, phase angle, specific impedance and dissipation factor measured at wide range (50 Hz to 5 MHz) of frequencies. A strong linear correlation was found between the relative permittivity at 1.2 MHz and trabecular bone fat content (r = -0.85, p or = 0.69). Variation in bone tissue collagen content was strongly related to the relative permittivity measured at 1.2 MHz (r = 0.64), but only moderately to other parameters. Glycosaminoglycan content showed no significant relations with any investigated electrical parameters. The present study indicates that if the trabecular bone composition is known, the relationships presented in this study could facilitate calculation of current field distribution, e.g. during electrical stimulation of osteogenesis. On the other hand, our results suggest that permittivity measured at low (100 kHz) frequencies could be used, e.g. during implant surgery, for prediction of trabecular bone water or fat contents, respectively.
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