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Osteoporos Int. 2007 May;18(5):641-7. Epub 2006 Dec 1.

MRI-measured bone marrow adipose tissue is inversely related to DXA-measured bone mineral in Caucasian women.

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Obesity Research Center, St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital and Institute of Human Nutrition, Columbia University, 1090 Amsterdam Avenue, 14H, New York, NY 10025, USA.



Recent studies suggest that bone marrow adipose tissue (BMAT) might play a role in the pathogenesis of osteoporosis. Previous research using regional magnetic resonance spectroscopy methods to measure BMAT has reported inconsistent findings on the relationship between BMAT and dual-energy absorptiometry (DXA)-measured bone mineral density (BMD).


In the present study, total body and pelvic BMAT were evaluated in 56 healthy women (age 18-88 yrs, mean +/- SD, 47.4 +/- 17.6 yrs; BMI, 24.3 +/- 4.2 kg/m(2)) with T1-weighted whole-body magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). BMD was measured using the whole-body DXA mode (GE Lunar DPX, software version 4.7).


A strong negative correlation was observed between pelvic BMAT and BMD (total-body BMD, R = -0.743, P < 0.001; pelvic BMD, R = -0.646, P < 0.001), and between total-body BMAT and BMD (total-body BMD, R = -0.443, P < 0.001; pelvic BMD, R = -0.308, P < 0.001). The inverse association between pelvic BMAT and BMD remained strong after adjusting for age, weight, total body fat, and menopausal status (partial correlation: total-body BMD, R = -0.553, P < 0.001; pelvic BMD, R = -0.513, P < 0.001). BMAT was also highly correlated with age (pelvic BMAT, R = 0.715, P < 0.001; total-body BMAT, R = 0.519, P < 0.001).


MRI-measured BMAT is thus strongly inversely correlated with DXA-measured BMD independent of other predictor variables. These observations, in the context of DXA technical concerns, support the growing evidence linking BMAT with low bone density.

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