Cortical thinning and progressive cortical porosity in female patients with systemic lupus erythematosus on long-term glucocorticoids: a 2-year case-control study
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In this study, we characterized longitudinal changes of volumetric bone mineral density and cortical and trabecular microstructure at the distal radius using HR-pQCT in female systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) patients on long-term glucocorticoids. Cortical thinning and increased cortical porosity are the major features of longitudinal microstructural deterioration in SLE patients.
The study aims to characterize longitudinal changes of volumetric bone mineral density (vBMD) and bone microstructure at distal radius in female systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) patients on long-term glucocorticoids.
This 2-year case-control study consisted of 166 premenopausal subjects (75 SLE patients and 91 controls) and 79 postmenopausal subjects (44 SLE patients and 35 controls). We obtained areal BMD (aBMD) by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry at multiple skeletal sites and indices of vBMD and microstructure at distal radius by high-resolution peripheral quantitative computed tomography (HR-pQCT) at baseline, 12 and 24 months.
In either premenopausal or postmenopausal subjects, changes in aBMD did not differ between patients and controls except that decrease in aBMD at total hip at 24 months in premenopausal patients was significantly higher. In premenopausal subjects, decrease in cortical area (−0.51 vs. −0.06 %, p = 0.039) and thickness (−0.63 vs. 0.02 %, p = 0.031) and increase in cortical porosity (21.7 vs. 7.16 %, p = 0.030) over study period were significantly larger in patients after adjustment of age and body mass index. Decreased in trabecular vBMD was significantly less (−0.63 vs. −2.32 %, p = 0.001) with trabecular microstructure better maintained in patients. In postmenopausal subjects, decrease in cortical vBMD (−2.66 vs. −1.56 %, p = 0.039) and increase in cortical porosity (41.6 vs. 16.3 %, p = 0.021) were significantly higher in patients, and there was no group-wise difference in change of trabecular microstructure.
Longitudinal microstructural deterioration in SLE is characterized by cortical thinning and increased cortical porosity. Cortical bone is an important source of bone loss in SLE patients on glucocorticoids.
KeywordsBone microstructure Glucocorticoids HR-pQCT Osteoporosis Systemic lupus erythematosus
The work described in this paper was fully supported by a grant from the Research Grant Council of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, China (CUHK471010). The authors are grateful to Ms. LI Siu Wan for her generous help in the recruitment of study controls.
The work described in this paper was fully supported by a grant from Research Grant Council of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, China (project no. CUHK471010).
This study was conducted with the approval of the Joint Chinese University of Hong Kong—New Territories East Cluster Clinical Research Ethics Committee (Ref. no. CRE-2009.215).
Conflicts of interest
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