Background: Osteoporosis and endothelial dysfunction have been associated with atherosclerosis. The correlation between brachial arterial endothelial function and lumbar spine bone mineral density (BMD) in postmenopausal women will be investigated.
Methods and results: The endothelial function in 85 postmenopausal women, including 28 women with normal spinal BMD, 27 women with osteopenia, and 30 women with osteoporosis were studied. Brachial arterial flow-mediated vasodilatation (FMD) after reactive hyperemia was assessed by ultrasonography. The BMD at the lumbar spine (lumbar 2 to 4 vertebrae) was measured by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry. Age, years since menopause, and FMD were significantly greater in the osteoporosis group than in the normal BMD group (p<0.01, p<0.05, and p<0.05, respectively). The BMD was significantly lower in the osteoporosis group than in the osteoporosis or normal BMD group (both p<0.01). After adjusting for age and years since menopause, women with osteoporosis had significantly lesser FMD than those with normal BMD (p<0.05). The univariate linear regression analysis revealed that brachial arterial FMD was significantly positively correlated with BMD (r=0.31, p<0.01), but showed no significant association with other clinical variables. In multivariate regression analysis, the FMD was significantly positively correlated with BMD (p<0.01), but not with other variables.
Conclusions: Postmenopausal women with osteoporosis might have impaired brachial arterial endothelial function, suggesting that brachial artery endothelial function might be associated with lumbar spine bone mass in postmenopausal women.