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J Bone Miner Metab. 2011 Jan;29(1):44-53. doi: 10.1007/s00774-010-0186-z. Epub 2010 May 11.

Comparisons of trabecular and cortical bone in late adolescent black and white females.

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  • 1Department of Pediatrics, Georgia Prevention Institute, Medical College of Georgia, 1120 15th Street, Augusta, GA 30912, USA.


Few childhood studies have investigated racial differences in volumetric bone mineral density (vBMD), bone geometry, and bone strength indices measured by three-dimensional bone imaging. The purpose of this study was to compare trabecular and cortical bone parameters at the radius and tibia between late adolescent white and black females using peripheral quantitative computed tomography (QCT). White (n = 25) and black females (n = 25), 18-19 years of age, were pair-matched for age, height, and fat-free soft tissue mass. Peripheral QCT scans were obtained at the 4% (trabecular bone), 20% (cortical bone), and 66% [muscle cross-sectional area (CSA)] sites from the distal metaphyses. Bone strength was determined from vBMD and bone geometry to calculate bone strength index (BSI; trabecular site) and polar strength-strain index (SSI; cortical site). Radial SSI was not different between groups; however, blacks had greater radial BSI (P = 0.02) than whites. After adjustment for the longer forearm in blacks, the greater radial BSI in blacks no longer remained. At the tibia, blacks versus whites had greater bone strength at the trabecular and cortical bone sites (BSI, P = 0.03; SSI, P = 0.04, respectively). When controlling for differences in tibial length and muscle CSA, the higher estimates of bone strength persisted in blacks versus whites (BSI, P = 0.01; SSI, P = 0.02). Our data suggest that when differences in body size are considered, late adolescent black versus white females have a stronger bone profile, due to greater bone geometry and vBMD, at the trabecular and cortical regions of the tibia but not at the radius.

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