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J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2003 Apr;88(4):1497-502.

Deterioration of trabecular architecture in hypogonadal men.

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Department of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Phyladelphia 19104, USA.


Bone strength depends on trabecular architecture, characterized by interconnected plates and rods. In osteoporosis, the plates become fenestrated, resulting in more rods that deteriorate and become disconnected. In men, hypogonadism is a common cause of osteoporosis. To determine whether male hypogonadism affects trabecular architecture, we selected 10 men with severe, untreated hypogonadism, and for each hypogonadal man, we selected a eugonadal man matched for race and age. Trabecular architecture in the distal tibia was assessed by magnetic resonance microimaging. Two composite topological indices were determined: the ratio of surface voxels (representing plates) to curve voxels (representing rods), which is higher when architecture is more intact; and the erosion index, a ratio of parameters expected to increase upon architectural deterioration to those expected to decrease, which is higher when deterioration is greater. The surface/curve ratio was 36% lower (P = 0.004), and the erosion index was 36% higher (P = 0.003) in the hypogonadal men than in the eugonadal men. In contrast, bone mineral density of the spine and hip were not significantly different between the two groups. We conclude that male hypogonadism is associated with marked deterioration of trabecular architecture and to a greater degree than bone densitometry of the spine and hip suggests.

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