Osteoporosis International

, Volume 18, Issue 5, pp 641–647 | Cite as

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

  • W. Shen
  • J. Chen
  • M. Punyanitya
  • S. Shapses
  • S. Heshka
  • S. B. Heymsfield
Original Article



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.


Body composition Bone marrow Bone mineral density Dual-energy absorptiometry Magnetic resonance imaging 


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Copyright information

© International Osteoporosis Foundation and National Osteoporosis Foundation 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • W. Shen
    • 1
  • J. Chen
    • 1
  • M. Punyanitya
    • 1
  • S. Shapses
    • 2
  • S. Heshka
    • 1
  • S. B. Heymsfield
    • 3
  1. 1.Obesity Research Center, St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital and Institute of Human NutritionColumbia UniversityNew YorkUSA
  2. 2.Nutritional Sciences DepartmentRutgers UniversityNew BrunswickUSA
  3. 3.Merck & Co.RahwayUSA

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