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Bone. 2002 Jul;31(1):110-3.

Gender-specific pubertal changes in volumetric cortical bone mineral density at the proximal radius.

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Children's Hospital, University of Cologne, Cologne, Germany.


It is well established that puberty affects the geometry of cortical bone differently in females and males. In the present study we investigated whether there are also gender differences in the volumetric bone mineral density of the cortical compartment (BMDcort). BMDcort was determined at the proximal radial diaphysis in 362 healthy children and adolescents (age 6-23 years; 185 females, 177 males) and in 107 adults (age 29-40 years; 88 women, 19 men) using peripheral quantitative computed tomography (pQCT). The densitometric result for BMDcort was similar in prepubertal girls and boys, but was significantly higher in females after pubertal stage 3. pQCT results for BMDcort are influenced by cortical thickness due to the partial volume effect. Therefore, these gender differences were reanalyzed in groups of subjects of the same developmental stage who were matched for cortical thickness. Thus calculated, no gender difference in BMDcort was detected in prepubertal children. However, adolescent females after pubertal stage 3 and adult women had a 3%-4% higher BMDcort than males at the same developmental stage. BMDcort is an integrated measure of both cortical porosity and mean material density of cortical bone. The metabolic activity of cortical bone (intracortical remodeling) increases cortical porosity and decreases the mean material density of cortical bone. Our results therefore suggest that intracortical remodeling is lower in postpubertal females than in males.

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