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Age-related differences in volumetric bone mineral density, microarchitecture, and bone strength of distal radius and tibia in Chinese women: a high-resolution pQCT reference database study

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Abstract

Summary

In a cohort of 393 Chinese women, by using high-resolution peripheral quantitative computed tomography (HR-pQCT), we found that significant cortical bone loss occurred after midlife. Prominent increase in cortical porosity began at the fifth decade but reached a plateau before the sixth decade. Trabecular bone loss was already evident in young adulthood and continued throughout life.

Introduction

This study aimed to investigate age-related differences in volumetric bone mineral density (vBMD), microarchitecture, and estimated bone strength at peripheral skeleton in Chinese female population.

Methods

In a cross-sectional cohort of 393 Chinese women aged 20–90 years, we obtained vBMD, microarchtecture, and micro-finite element-derived bone strength at distal radius and tibia using HR-pQCT.

Results

The largest predictive age-related difference was found for cortical porosity (Ct.Po) which showed over four-fold and two-fold differences at distal radius and tibia, respectively, over the adulthood. At both sites, cortical bone area, vBMD, and thickness showed significant quadratic association with age with significant decrease beginning after midlife. Change of Ct.Po became more prominent between age of 50 and 57 (0.26 %/year at distal radius, 0.54 %/year at distal tibia, both p ≤ 0.001) but thereafter, reached a plateau (0.015 and 0.028 %/year, both p > 0.05). In contrast, trabecular vBMD and microarchitecture showed linear association with age with significant deterioration observed throughout adulthood. Estimated age of peak was around age of 20 for trabecular vBMD and microarchitecture and Ct.Po and age of 40 for cortical vBMD and microarchitecture. Estimated stiffness and failure load peaked at mid-30s at the distal radius and at age 20 at distal tibia.

Conclusions

Age-related differences in vBMD and microarchitecture in Chinese women differed by bone compartments. Significant cortical bone loss occurred after midlife. Prominent increase in Ct.Po began at the fifth decade but appeared to be arrested before the sixth decade. Loss of trabecular bone was already evident in young adulthood and continued throughout life.

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Acknowledgments

This work was supported by Health and Medical Research Fund, Food and Health Bureau, Hong Kong SAR (Ref. 12130841).

Conflicts of interest

Hung VW, Zhu TY, Cheung WH, Fong TN, Yu FW, Hung LK, Leung KS, Cheng JCY, Lam TP, and Qin L declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

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-2010.153).

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Correspondence to T.-P. Lam or L. Qin.

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T. Y. Zhu is the co-first author.

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Hung, V.W.Y., Zhu, T.Y., Cheung, WH. et al. Age-related differences in volumetric bone mineral density, microarchitecture, and bone strength of distal radius and tibia in Chinese women: a high-resolution pQCT reference database study. Osteoporos Int 26, 1691–1703 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00198-015-3045-x

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