Bone mineral density in young males with ankylosing spondylitis

Int J Rheum Dis. 2011 Feb;14(1):68-73. doi: 10.1111/j.1756-185X.2010.01577.x. Epub 2010 Nov 9.


Objective: To assess bone mineral density (BMD) abnormalities in young Indian males with ankylosing spondylitis (AS) and factors influencing this.

Methods: Eighty AS male subjects were compared with 160 age/sex matched controls for BMD of lumbar spine and proximal femur. AS subjects were evaluated and followed up every 3 months for disease activity. BMD was estimated at spine and proximal femur using the dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) technique.

Results: All subjects were males with mean age of 32.9 ± 8.3 years and mean duration of disease was 8.1 ± 5.8 years. AS subjects had significantly lower BMD at the spine and femur as compared with controls (both P < 0.001). Using WHO standards, osteoporosis (OP) in spine and femur neck was seen in 28.75% (controls: 1.84%, P < 0.001) and 11.54% (controls: 1.23%, P < 0.001), respectively. No statistically significant difference in prevalence of OP was seen with disease duration, C-reactive protein levels and disease activity indices (all P > 0.05). Syndesmophytes were seen in 22.5% (n = 18) of AS subjects. There was no significant difference between BMD values at spine in AS subjects with or without syndesmophytes (0.91 + 0.16 g/cm(2) vs. 0.90 + 0.14 g/cm(2), P = 0.79).

Conclusion: OP is a significant complication in AS even in young males with early disease, and more prevalent in the spine compared to femur. In our study, BMD was not influenced by disease activity indices, inflammatory markers or total disease duration. Spinal BMD is the most sensitive site for defining OP in AS.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Bone Density*
  • Comorbidity
  • Femur / diagnostic imaging
  • Femur / metabolism
  • Humans
  • India / epidemiology
  • Lumbar Vertebrae / diagnostic imaging
  • Lumbar Vertebrae / metabolism
  • Male
  • Osteoporosis / diagnosis*
  • Osteoporosis / epidemiology
  • Osteoporosis / metabolism
  • Radiography
  • Spondylitis, Ankylosing / epidemiology
  • Spondylitis, Ankylosing / metabolism*
  • Spondylitis, Ankylosing / physiopathology