Alterations of bone microstructure and strength in end-stage renal failure

Osteoporos Int. 2013 May;24(5):1721-32. doi: 10.1007/s00198-012-2133-4. Epub 2012 Oct 26.


End-stage renal disease (ESRD) patients have a high risk of fractures. We evaluated bone microstructure and finite-element analysis-estimated strength and stiffness in patients with ESRD by high-resolution peripheral computed tomography. We observed an alteration of cortical and trabecular bone microstructure and of bone strength and stiffness in ESRD patients.

Introduction: Fragility fractures are common in ESRD patients on dialysis. Alterations of bone microstructure contribute to skeletal fragility, independently of areal bone mineral density.

Methods: We compared microstructure and finite-element analysis estimates of strength and stiffness by high-resolution peripheral quantitative computed tomography (HR-pQCT) in 33 ESRD patients on dialysis (17 females and 16 males; mean age, 47.0 ± 12.6 years) and 33 age-matched healthy controls.

Results: Dialyzed women had lower radius and tibia cortical density with higher radius cortical porosity and lower tibia cortical thickness, compared to controls. Radius trabecular number was lower with higher heterogeneity of the trabecular network. Male patients displayed only a lower radius cortical density. Radius and tibia cortical thickness correlated negatively with bone-specific alkaline phosphatase (BALP). Microstructure did not correlate with parathyroid hormone (PTH) levels. Cortical porosity correlated positively with "Kidney Disease: Improving Global Outcomes" working group PTH level categories (r = 0.36, p < 0.04). BMI correlated positively with trabecular number (r = 0.4, p < 0.02) and negatively with trabecular spacing (r = -0.37, p < 0.03) and trabecular network heterogeneity (r = -0.4, p < 0.02). Biomechanics positively correlated with BMI and negatively with BALP.

Conclusion: Cortical and trabecular bone microstructure and calculated bone strength are altered in ESRD patients, predominantly in women. Bone microstructure and biomechanical assessment by HR-pQCT may be of major clinical relevance in the evaluation of bone fragility in ESRD patients.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Alkaline Phosphatase / blood
  • Body Mass Index
  • Bone Density / physiology
  • Bone and Bones / diagnostic imaging
  • Bone and Bones / pathology*
  • Bone and Bones / physiopathology
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Female
  • Femur Neck / physiopathology
  • Finite Element Analysis
  • Hip Joint / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / diagnostic imaging
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / pathology*
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / physiopathology
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / therapy
  • Lumbar Vertebrae / physiopathology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Porosity
  • Radius / diagnostic imaging
  • Radius / pathology
  • Radius / physiopathology
  • Renal Dialysis
  • Tibia / diagnostic imaging
  • Tibia / pathology
  • Tibia / physiopathology
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed / methods


  • Alkaline Phosphatase