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J Bone Miner Res. 2012 Oct;27(10):2198-207. doi: 10.1002/jbmr.1675.

Catch up in bone acquisition in young adult men with late normal puberty.

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  • 1Centre for Bone and Arthritis Research, Institute of Medicine, Sahlgrenska University Hospital, Gothenburg, Sweden.


The aim of this study was to investigate the development of bone mineral density (BMD) and bone mineral content (BMC) in relation to peak height velocity (PHV), and to investigate whether late normal puberty was associated with remaining low BMD and BMC in early adulthood in men. In total, 501 men (mean ± SD, 18.9 ± 0.5 years of age at baseline) were included in this 5-year longitudinal study. Areal BMD (aBMD) and BMC, volumetric BMD (vBMD) and cortical bone size were measured using dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) and pQCT. Detailed growth and weight charts were used to calculate age at PHV, an objective assessment of pubertal timing. Age at PHV was a strong positive predictor of the increase in aBMD and BMC of the total body (R(2) aBMD 11.7%; BMC 4.3%), radius (R(2) aBMD 23.5%; BMC 22.3%), and lumbar spine (R(2) aBMD 11.9%; BMC 10.5%) between 19 and 24 years (p < 0.001). Subjects were divided into three groups according to age at PHV (early, middle, and late). Men with late puberty gained markedly more in aBMD and BMC at the total body, radius, and lumbar spine, and lost less at the femoral neck (p < 0.001) than men with early puberty. At age 24 years, no significant differences in aBMD or BMC of the lumbar spine, femoral neck, or total body were observed, whereas a deficit of 4.2% in radius aBMD, but not in BMC, was seen for men with late versus early puberty (p < 0.001). pQCT measurements of the radius at follow-up demonstrated no significant differences in bone size, whereas cortical and trabecular vBMD were 0.7% (p < 0.001) and 4.8% (p < 0.05) lower in men with late versus early puberty. In conclusion, our results demonstrate that late puberty in males was associated with a substantial catch up in aBMD and BMC in young adulthood, leaving no deficits of the lumbar spine, femoral neck, or total body at age 24 years.

Copyright © 2012 American Society for Bone and Mineral Research.

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