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J Musculoskelet Neuronal Interact. 2006 Apr-Jun;6(2):195-200.

The muscle-bone unit in adulthood: influence of sex, height, age and gynecological history on the bone mineral content and muscle cross-sectional area.

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


Bone and muscle development are both strongly influenced by sex hormones. The purpose of this study was to examine the changes in bone and muscle parameters (bone mineral content - BMC, muscle cross-sectional area - MA) in 130 men aged 31 -60 years, and in 180 pre-menopausal women aged 30-53 years with respect to age, body height and, with the women, their gynecological history (age-at-menarche, number of pregnancies, duration of lactation and use of oral contraception). The study was performed using peripheral quantitative computed tomography (pQCT) at a 65% site of the forearm length. Both BMC and MA were dependent on body height (p<0.0001), but not on age. The BMC/MA ratio was dependent neither on age nor on body height in both genders. MA as well as BMC were found significantly higher in males than in females (p<0.0001 for both variables). We observed a significantly higher BMC/MA ratio in females than in males (p<0.0001). We found no effect either of the analyzed variables of gynecological history on bone/muscle characteristics. The findings highlight the necessity of involving height-adjusted parameters and BMC/MA ratio into bone analysis in adults.

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