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Bone. 2002 Jul;31(1):126-35.

Change in bone mass distribution induced by hormone replacement therapy and high-impact physical exercise in post-menopausal women.

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  • 1Department of Health Sciences, University of Jyväskylä, Jyväskylä, Finland.


The purpose of this intervention trial was to determine whether changes in bone mass distribution could be observed in postmenopausal women following hormone replacement therapy (HRT) and/or high-impact physical exercise. Eighty healthy women, aged 50-57 years, at <5 years after the onset of menopause and with no previous use of HRT, were randomly assigned to one of four groups: HRT; exercise (Ex); HRT + Ex (ExHRT); and control (Co). HRT administration was conducted in a double-blind manner for 1 year using estradiol plus noretisterone acetate (Kliogest). The exercise groups participated in a 1 year progressive training program consisting of jumping and bounding activities. Subjects participated in two supervised sessions per week and were asked to perform a series of exercises at home 4 days/week. Bone measurements using a quantitative computed tomography scanner (Somatom DR, Siemens) were obtained from the proximal femur, midfemur, proximal tibia, and tibial shaft. Data were analyzed with a software program (BONALYSE 1.3) calculating density (g/cm(3)), cross-sectional area (CSA; mm(2)), and moments of inertia (I(max), I(min), I(polar)). In addition, the bone mass spectrum was determined as a function of the angular distribution around the bone mass center (polar distribution) and the distance from the bone mass center through the diaphyseal wall (radial distribution). After the 1 year period, there was an overall interaction of group x time in bone mineral density (BMD) at the proximal femur (p = 0.05) and tibial shaft (p = 0.035). Women in the ExHRT and HRT groups had increased proximal femur and tibial shaft BMD when compared with the change observed in the Co group (p = 0.024-0.011). The change was more pronounced in the cortical tibia, wherein the ExHRT group also differed from the Ex group (p = 0.038). No significant changes were found in bone CSA at any of the measured sites. The radial distribution indicated an increase of BMD in the endocortical part of the measured sites in the HRT and ExHRT groups and in the proximal tibia in the Ex group. The polar distribution showed that bone mass was redistributed in the anteroposterior direction. The changes in I(max), I(min), and I(polar) in the HRT and ExHRT groups differed from those in the Co group at the proximal femur, midfemur, and proximal tibia (p = 0.047-0.001). The Ex group also differed from the Co group in I(max) and I(polar) at the proximal tibia (p = 0.018 and 0.039, respectively). These results support the idea that HRT acts primarily at the bone-marrow interface. The exercise intervention chosen for this study contributed to the maintenance of bone mass. Our results suggest that both HRT and exercise have local effects on bone mass. The change in bone mass distribution induced by HRT and exercise may play an important role in the alteration of bone strength.

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