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The muscle-bone unit in adolescent swimmers

  • A. Gomez-Bruton
  • A. Gonzalez-Aguero
  • A. Matute-Llorente
  • G. Lozano-Berges
  • A. Gomez-Cabello
  • L.A. Moreno
  • J.A. Casajus
  • G. Vicente-RodríguezEmail author
Original Article

Abstract

Summary

Most researchers adjust bone by lean mass when comparing swimmers with controls. This adjustment is done under the assumption that lean affects bone similarly in both groups. Nonetheless, we found that the muscle-bone association is uncoupled in swimmers, and consequently, researchers should avoid this adjustment when evaluating swimmers’ bone.

Introduction

To examine the functional and structural muscle-bone unit in adolescent swimmers.

Methods

Sixty-five swimmers (34 girls/31 boys) and 119 controls (51 girls/68 boys) participated in the study. Muscle cross-sectional area (MCSA), bone mineral content (BMC), and polar strength-strain index (SSIPOL) were measured in the non-dominant radius by peripheral quantitative computed tomography (pQCT). Subtotal BMC and lean mass were evaluated with dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA). Handgrip and isometric knee extension (IKE) tests were performed to determine muscle force. The effect of MCSA, lean and force on SSIPOL, and BMC were tested, and the functional and structural muscle-bone ratios of swimmers and controls were compared.

Results

Both muscle size (MCSA and lean) and muscle force (handgrip and IKE) influenced BMC and SSIPOL in swimmers and controls similarly. Swimmers presented normal MCSA and lean values for their height, but when compared with controls, swimmers presented a higher amount of lean and MCSA for the same BMC or SSIPOL (structural muscle-bone unit). For the functional muscle-bone unit, different results were found for the lower and upper limbs, as no differences were found for the upper limbs, while for the lower limbs, swimmers presented higher muscle force for the same amount of BMC.

Conclusions

The contradictory results regarding BMC in swimmers found in previous studies could partly be explained with the findings of the present study that reinforce the idea that swimming is not an effective sport to practice regarding bone mass and that the muscle-bone unit is different in swimmers than in controls.

Keywords

Body composition Bone health Children Exercise Musculoskeletal Swimming 

Notes

Compliance with ethical standards

Study design, protocol, and consent forms were performed in accordance with the Helsinki Declaration of 1964 (revised in Fortaleza, 2013) and were reviewed and approved by the Research Ethics Committee of the Government of Aragon (ref. CP08/2012, CEICA, Spain).

Conflicts of interest

None.

Supplementary material

198_2019_4857_MOESM1_ESM.docx (47 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 47 kb)

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Copyright information

© International Osteoporosis Foundation and National Osteoporosis Foundation 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. Gomez-Bruton
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
  • A. Gonzalez-Aguero
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
    • 7
  • A. Matute-Llorente
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
  • G. Lozano-Berges
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
    • 7
  • A. Gomez-Cabello
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    • 5
    • 7
  • L.A. Moreno
    • 1
    • 2
    • 6
    • 7
  • J.A. Casajus
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    • 6
    • 7
  • G. Vicente-Rodríguez
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
    • 7
    Email author
  1. 1.GENUD (Growth, Exercise, NUtrition and Development) Research GroupZaragozaSpain
  2. 2.Centro de Investigación Biomédica en Red de Fisiopatología de la Obesidad y Nutrición (CIBEROBN)MadridSpain
  3. 3.EXERNET red de investigación en ejercicio físico y salud para poblaciones especialesMadridSpain
  4. 4.Faculty of Health and Sport Science (FCSD), Department of Physiatry and NursingUniversidad de ZaragozaHuescaSpain
  5. 5.Centro Universitario de la DefensaZaragozaSpain
  6. 6.Faculty of Health Science (FCS)Universidad de ZaragozaZaragozaSpain
  7. 7.Instituto Agroalimentario de Aragón (IA2)ZaragozaSpain

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