Bone mineral measurements by DXA in animals

  • Bruce H. Mitlak
  • Masahiko Sato


Non-invasive assessment of the small animal skeleton provides a rapid and economical means for evaluating pharmacological agents and for testing hypotheses related to bone physiology. This approach has evolved over the past two decades as investigators have begun to apply techniques, initially developed for clinical research, to estimate bone mass and density in small animals. These techniques include radiographic absorptiometry [1], single photon absorptiometry (SPA) [2], neutron activation analysis [3, 4], quantitative computerized tomography (QCT) [5][7], dual photon absorptiometry (DPA) [8], and more recently dual energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) [9–12]. Refinements in the ability to assess animal bones mirrors the evolution of clinical densitometry (recently reviewed by Genant et al. [13]). In this respect, isotope-based instruments (SPA, DPA), which provided relatively poor sensitivity and reproducibility, have been replaced by DXA instruments incorporating stable, high-flux X-ray tubes which are better suited for high resolution measurements. QCT and peripheral QCT (pQCT), which measure true bone density and can measure anatomically distinct cortical and trabecular bone compartments, have been used to a limited extent in animal studies. This use may change with the introduction of relatively low-cost scanners [5, 14] and with the demonstration that these scanners may be useful in examining mouse bones which are too small to be reliably measured by DXA [15].


Bone Mineral Density Bone Mass Bone Mineral Content Mineral Research Bone Mineral Measurement 
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© Chapman and Hall Ltd 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bruce H. Mitlak
  • Masahiko Sato

There are no affiliations available

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