Osteoporosis International

, Volume 22, Issue 9, pp 2475–2485 | Cite as

The association of serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D with indicators of bone quality in men of Caucasian and African ancestry

  • K. E. Barbour
  • J. M. Zmuda
  • M. J. Horwitz
  • E. S. Strotmeyer
  • R. Boudreau
  • R. W. Evans
  • K. E. Ensrud
  • C. L. Gordon
  • M. A. Petit
  • A. L. Patrick
  • J. A. Cauley
  • Osteoporotic Fractures in Men (MrOS) Research Group
Original Article



We examined the association of serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D] with indices of bone quality in older men. Positive associations for 25(OH)D and bone mineral density, content, cortical thickness, and axial and polar strength strain indices were observed among Caucasians; however, among men of African descent findings were either null or negative.


There are limited data on serum 25(OH)D and bone measures in men of African ancestry. To better understand racial differences in vitamin D status and bone health, a cross-sectional study among 446 Caucasian men in the US and 496 men of African ancestry in Tobago (age ≥ 65 years) was conducted.


Serum 25(OH)D (liquid chromatography and tandem mass spectrometry) was measured, and peripheral quantitative computed tomography scans were administered. Bone measures estimated included trabecular and cortical volumetric bone mineral density (vBMD), bone mineral content (BMC), bone geometry (cross-sectional area and cortical thickness), and polar and axial strength strain indices (SSIp and SSIx).


Men of African ancestry had higher 25(OH)D than Caucasians (34.7 vs. 27.6 ng/ml, p < 0.01). Among Caucasians, 25(OH)D was positively (p trend < 0.05) associated with cortical vBMD, total BMC, cortical thickness, SSIp, and SSIx at the distal radius after adjustment for potential confounders. Similar patterns were observed at the distal tibia. In contrast, in men of African ancestry, there was an inverse association (p trend < 0.05) between 25(OH)D and the cross-sectional area, and SSIx. Race modified (p for interaction < 0.05) the association between 25(OH)D and total BMC, cross-sectional area, SSIp, SSIx, and trabecular vBMD of the radius. In men of African ancestry, there was evidence of a threshold effect (at approximately 18 ng/ml) for 25(OH)D on tibial total BMC and cortical thickness.


More studies are needed to better comprehend these race differences for 25(OH)D and bone density, geometry, and indices of bone strength.


25(OH)D Men pQCT Radius Tibia vBMD 


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Copyright information

© International Osteoporosis Foundation and National Osteoporosis Foundation 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • K. E. Barbour
    • 1
    • 7
  • J. M. Zmuda
    • 1
  • M. J. Horwitz
    • 2
  • E. S. Strotmeyer
    • 1
  • R. Boudreau
    • 1
  • R. W. Evans
    • 1
  • K. E. Ensrud
    • 3
  • C. L. Gordon
    • 4
  • M. A. Petit
    • 5
  • A. L. Patrick
    • 6
  • J. A. Cauley
    • 1
  • Osteoporotic Fractures in Men (MrOS) Research Group
  1. 1.Department of Epidemiology, Graduate School of Public HealthUniversity of PittsburghPittsburghUSA
  2. 2.Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism at the University of Pittsburgh School of MedicinePittsburghUSA
  3. 3.Minneapolis VA Medical Center, Rheumatology (111 R)MinneapolisUSA
  4. 4.Department of RadiologyMcMaster UniversityHamiltonCanada
  5. 5.School of KinesiologyUniversity of MinnesotaMinneapolisUSA
  6. 6.Tobago Health Studies OfficeScarboroughTrinidad and Tobago
  7. 7.Center for Aging and Population Health Department of EpidemiologyUniversity of PittsburghPittsburghUSA

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