Bone mineral density and body composition in men with multiple sclerosis chronically treated with low-dose glucocorticoids

Physiol Res. 2012;61(4):405-17. doi: 10.33549/physiolres.932299. Epub 2012 Jun 6.


The aim of the study was to compare the bone mineral density (BMD) and body composition between ambulatory male MS patients and control subjects and to evaluate the relationships among body composition, motor disability, glucocorticoids (GC) use, and bone health. Body composition and BMD were measured by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry in 104 ambulatory men with MS (mean age: 45.2 years) chronically treated with low-dose GC and in 54 healthy age-matched men. Compared to age-matched controls, MS patients had a significantly lower total body bone mineral content (TBBMC) and BMD at all measured sites except for the radius. Sixty five male MS patients (62.5 %) met the criteria for osteopenia and twenty six of them (25 %) for osteoporosis. The multivariate analysis showed a consistent dependence of bone measures (except whole body BMD) on BMI. The total leg lean mass % was as an independent predictor of TBBMC. The Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS), cumulative GC dose and age were independent determinants for BMD of the proximal femur. We conclude that decreasing mobility in male MS patients is associated with an increasing degree of osteoporosis and muscle wasting in the lower extremities. The chronic low-dose GC treatment further contributes to bone loss.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Body Composition / physiology
  • Bone Density / physiology*
  • Glucocorticoids / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multiple Sclerosis / drug therapy*
  • Multiple Sclerosis / metabolism


  • Glucocorticoids