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J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2004 Sep;89(9):4306-11.

The skeletal phenotype of men with previous constitutional delay of puberty.

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Institute of Endocrinology and Diabetes, The Children's Hospital at Westmead, Locked Bag 4001, Westmead, New South Wales 2145, Sydney, Australia.


It is presently unclear whether men with a history of constitutional delay (CD) of puberty are osteopenic. This study compares auxology, bone mass, size, and density of 32 men (age, 21-33 yr) with previous CD with 45 controls. Using dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry, areal bone mineral density (aBMD) and volumetric bone mineral density at the lumbar spine (LS) and femoral neck (FN), hip strength analysis, and total-body and body segment (arms, legs, trunk) measurements were determined. Auxological variables, body composition, the muscle-bone relation, and the effect of prior androgen treatment were studied. Men with previous CD were shorter (P < 0.001) and had shorter height-adjusted arms compared with controls. Height-adjusted total-body bone mineral content (BMC) (P = 0.004), aBMD (P = 0.016), and bone area (P = 0.006) but not lean tissue mass (P = 0.507) were lower in CD men compared with controls; consequently, their BMC to lean tissue mass ratio was reduced (P < 0.001). Segment length-adjusted BMC and bone area of arms (P < 0.001) and legs (P < 0.03), but not trunk were lower in CD men than in controls. They had lower LS aBMD (P = 0.044) but normal LS and FN volumetric bone mineral density. Size-adjusted LS width and the hip cross-sectional area were lower than in controls. There was no difference in anthropometric or dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry results between untreated (n = 15) and androgen-treated (n = 17) CD men.We conclude that men with previous CD have normal LS and FN volumetric density but reduced total-body bone mass, which was explained by reduced limb bone mass and size. Together with the reduced LS bone width and hip crosssectional area, these skeletal characteristics suggest impaired periosteal expansion during puberty. The skeletal phenotype of CD males may be altered by their late onset of puberty.

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