, Volume 18, Issue 5, pp 641-647
Date: 01 Dec 2006

MRI-measured bone marrow adipose tissue is inversely related to DXA-measured bone mineral in Caucasian women

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Recent studies suggest that bone marrow adipose tissue (BMAT) might play a role in the pathogenesis of osteoporosis. Previous research using regional magnetic resonance spectroscopy methods to measure BMAT has reported inconsistent findings on the relationship between BMAT and dual-energy absorptiometry (DXA)-measured bone mineral density (BMD).


In the present study, total body and pelvic BMAT were evaluated in 56 healthy women (age 18–88 yrs, mean ± SD, 47.4 ± 17.6 yrs; BMI, 24.3 ± 4.2 kg/m2) with T1-weighted whole-body magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). BMD was measured using the whole-body DXA mode (GE Lunar DPX, software version 4.7).


A strong negative correlation was observed between pelvic BMAT and BMD (total-body BMD, R = −0.743, P < 0.001; pelvic BMD, R = −0.646, P < 0.001), and between total-body BMAT and BMD (total-body BMD, R = −0.443, P < 0.001; pelvic BMD, R = −0.308, P < 0.001). The inverse association between pelvic BMAT and BMD remained strong after adjusting for age, weight, total body fat, and menopausal status (partial correlation: total-body BMD, R = −0.553, P < 0.001; pelvic BMD, R = −0.513, P < 0.001). BMAT was also highly correlated with age (pelvic BMAT, R = 0.715, P < 0.001; total-body BMAT, R = 0.519, P < 0.001).


MRI-measured BMAT is thus strongly inversely correlated with DXA-measured BMD independent of other predictor variables. These observations, in the context of DXA technical concerns, support the growing evidence linking BMAT with low bone density.