Neuromuscular performance and bone structural characteristics in young healthy men and women
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- Rantalainen, T., Heinonen, A., Komi, P.V. et al. Eur J Appl Physiol (2008) 102: 215. doi:10.1007/s00421-007-0575-8
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Muscle mass and strength have been shown to be important factors in bone strength. Low muscular force predisposes to falling especially among elderly. Regular exercise helps to prevent falls and resulting bone fractures. Better understanding of muscle function and its importance on bone properties may thus add information to fracture prevention. Therefore the purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between bone strength and muscular force production. Twenty-young men [24 (2) years] and 20 [24 (3) years] women served as subjects. Bone compressive (BSId) and bending strength indices (50 Imax) were measured with peripheral quantitative computed tomography (pQCT) at tibial mid-shaft and at distal tibia. Ankle plantarflexor muscle volume (MV) was estimated from muscle thickness measured with ultrasonography. Neuromuscular performance was evaluated from the measurements of maximal ground reaction force (GRF) in bilateral jumping and of eccentric maximal voluntary ankle plantarflexor torque (MVC). Specific tension (ST) of the plantarflexors was calculated by dividing the MVC with the muscle volume. Activation level (AL) was measured with superimposed twitch method. Distal tibia BSId and tibial mid-shaft 50 Imax correlated positively with GRF, MVC and MV in men (r = 0.45–0.67, P < 0.05). Tibial mid-shaft 50 Imax and neuromuscular performance variables were correlated in women (r = 0.46–0.59, P < 0.05), whereas no correlation was seen in distal tibia. In the regression analysis, MV and ST could explain 64% of the variance in tibial mid-shaft bone strength and 41% of the variation in distal tibia bone strength. The study emphasizes that tibial strength is related to maximal neuromuscular performance. In addition, tibial mid-shaft seems to be more dependent on the neuromuscular performance, than distal tibia. In young adults, the association between bone adaptation and neuromuscular performance seems to be moderate and also site and loading specific.