Correlates of bone quality in older persons

Bone. 2006 Oct;39(4):915-21. doi: 10.1016/j.bone.2006.03.014. Epub 2006 May 18.


Purpose of the study: In a population-based sample of older persons, we studied the relationship between tibial bone density and geometry and factors potentially affecting osteoporosis.

Methods: Of the 1260 participants aged 65 years or older eligible for the InCHIANTI study, 1155 received an interview and 915 (79.2%) had complete data on tibial QCT scans and other variables used in the analysis presented here. The final study population included 807 persons (372 men and 435 women, age range 65-96 years) after exclusion of participants affected by bone diseases or treated with drugs that interfere with bone metabolism.

Results: In both sexes, calf cross-sectional muscle area (CSMA) was significantly and independently associated with total bone cross-sectional area (tCSA) and cortical bone cross-sectional area (cCSA) but not with trabecular or cortical volumetric bone mineral density (vBMD). Bioavailable testosterone (Bio-T) was independently associated with both trabecular and cortical vBMD in both sexes. In women, independently of confounders, 25(OH)-vitamin D was positively associated with tCSA and cortical vBMD, while PTH was negatively associated with cortical vBMD. IL-1 beta was negatively correlated with cortical vBMD in women, while TNF-alpha was associated with enhanced bone geometrical adaptation in men.

Conclusions: Physiological parameters that are generically considered risk factors for osteoporosis were associated with specific bone parameters assessed by tibial QCT. Factors known to be associated with increased bone reabsorption, such as 25(OH)-vitamin D, PTH and Bio-T, affected mainly volumetric BMD, while factors associated with bone mechanical stimulation, such as CSMA, affected primarily bone geometry. Our results also suggested that pro-inflammatory cytokines might be considered as markers of bone resorption.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Bone Density / physiology*
  • Bone Resorption / blood
  • Bone Resorption / pathology
  • Bone Resorption / physiopathology
  • Calcifediol / blood
  • Diet Records
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interleukin-1beta / blood
  • Interleukin-6 / blood
  • Male
  • Osteoporosis / blood
  • Osteoporosis / pathology
  • Osteoporosis / physiopathology
  • Risk Factors
  • Sex Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Tibia / metabolism
  • Tibia / pathology*
  • Tibia / physiopathology
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed / methods
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / blood


  • Interleukin-1beta
  • Interleukin-6
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha
  • Calcifediol