Osteoporosis International

, Volume 28, Issue 7, pp 2147–2154 | Cite as

Cortical microstructure compensates for smaller bone size in young Caribbean Hispanic versus non-Hispanic white men

  • M. D. WalkerEmail author
  • A. Kepley
  • K. Nishiyama
  • B. Zhou
  • E. Guo
  • T. L. Nickolas
Original Article



Hispanic men have smaller bone size but thicker and denser cortices compared to white men, leading to similar mechanical competence.


The purpose of this study was to assess differences in vBMD and microarchitecture in young Caribbean Hispanic (n = 30) and non-Hispanic Caucasian (n = 30) men.


We measured areal bone mineral density (aBMD) at the spine, total hip (TH), femoral neck (FN), and forearm by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) and bone geometry, mass, microarchitecture, and mechanical competence by high-resolution peripheral quantitative computed tomography (HRpQCT), individual trabecula segmentation (ITS), and finite element analysis (FEA).


Hispanic men were slightly older, shorter, and heavier and had higher BMI compared with white men. aBMD, measured by DXA, did not differ at the spine, TH, or forearm before or after adjustment for age, height, weight, and the interaction of height and weight. At the FN, marginally significant higher BMD in Hispanics prior to adjustment was attenuated and no longer differed after adjustment for covariates. Adjusted HRpQCT indices indicated smaller total and trabecular area at the radius but greater total volumetric density and cortical thickness in Hispanic versus white men. The adjusted difference in cortical density at the radius was of borderline significance. Trabecular and ITS microstructure tended not to differ at the radius. At the tibia, results were similar. Bone size tended to be smaller and covariate-adjusted cortical density and cortical thickness were greater in Hispanic versus white men. Additionally, cortical porosity was lower at the tibia in Hispanic compared to white men. Stiffness and failure load did not differ at either skeletal site by ethnicity.


In conclusion, greater cortical thickness and density as well as lower cortical porosity tend to compensate for smaller bone size in Hispanic men, leading to similar mechanical competence compared with white men.


Caucasian Hispanic HRpQCT ITS Microarchitecture Race Strength 


Compliance with ethical standards

All patients gave written, informed consent. This study was approved by the Institutional Review Board of Columbia University Medical Center.

Grant funding

This work was supported by internal funding.

Conflicts of interest



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Copyright information

© International Osteoporosis Foundation and National Osteoporosis Foundation 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. D. Walker
    • 1
    Email author
  • A. Kepley
    • 2
  • K. Nishiyama
    • 1
  • B. Zhou
    • 3
  • E. Guo
    • 3
  • T. L. Nickolas
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of MedicineColumbia University, College of Physicians and SurgeonsNew YorkUSA
  2. 2.Wake Forest University School of MedicineWinston-SalemUSA
  3. 3.Bone Bioengineering Laboratory, Department of Biomedical Engineering, Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied ScienceColumbia UniversityNew YorkUSA

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