In a cross-sectional cohort of 450 healthy women aged 20 to 85 years, data on the density, structure, and strength of the distal radius and tibia were obtained using high-resolution peripheral quantitative computed tomography (HR-pQCT) and were adjusted for age, weight, and height. Age-dependent patterns of change differed between the sites and between the trabecular and cortical compartments. In postmenopausal women, the trabecular bone remained relatively stable at the distal tibia, but the cortical compartment changed significantly. Cortical porosity exhibited a very weak correlation with stiffness.
Introduction: The aim of this study is to provide information on age-related, weight-related, and height-related changes in the volumetric bone mineral density (vBMD), structure, and biomechanical parameters of the cortical and trabecular compartments in a healthy female population using HR-pQCT.
Methods: For a cross-sectional Brazilian cohort of 450 women aged 20 to 85 years, age-related reference curves of the vBMD, structure, and biomechanical parameters of the distal radius (DR) and distal tibia (DT) were constructed and adjusted for weight and height, and comparisons between premenopausal and postmenopausal women were performed.
Results: Reference curves were obtained for all parameters. At the DR, age-related changes varied from -8.68% (cortical thickness [Ct.Th]) to 26.7% (trabecular separation [Tb.Sp]). At the DT, the changes varied from -12.4% (Ct.Th) to 26.3% (Tb.Sp). Cortical porosity (Ct.Po) exhibited the largest percent changes: 342.2% at the DR and 381.5% at the DT. In premenopausal women, Ct.Th remained constant; in postmenopausal women, structural trabecular parameters (trabecular number (Tb.N), trabecular thickness (Tb.Th), Tb.Sp) did not change, whereas cortical parameters and stiffness were significantly altered. Cortical vBMD showed the greatest absolute decrease at both sites, and the slopes were highly negative after menopause. Pearson correlations between stiffness (S) and HR-pCT parameters revealed a significant correlation between the densities and structures of the trabecular and cortical compartments. A weak correlation was observed between S and Ct.Po (DR r = -0.162, DT r = -0.273; p < 0.05).
Conclusions: These data provide reference curves from healthy women and demonstrate that density and structural and biomechanical parameters differ between the radius and tibia and between the trabecular and cortical compartments. In postmenopausal women, the trabecular bone remained relatively stable at the tibia site, whereas the cortical compartment changed significantly.
Keywords: Bone; Distal radius; HR-pQCT; Strength; Tibia.