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J Musculoskelet Neuronal Interact. 2012 Sep;12(3):155-64.

Peripheral QCT sector analysis reveals early exercise-induced increases in tibial bone mineral density.

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US Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine, Natick, MA, USA.



The purpose of this controlled trial was to determine whether subtle changes in mineralization and geometry of the tibia were evident following short term exercise interventions.


Fifty-seven female volunteers (age 20.1±1.6) were randomized to one of four, 13-week training groups: sedentary control, resistance training, aerobic training, or combined aerobic-resistance. A pQCT image analysis software was developed and used to analyze images taken at sites 4%, 38% and 66% from the distal tibia at baseline and at completion of training. Parameters of bone mineral density, geometry and strength were determined for the entire scan cross-section and for each of six 60° polar sectors. Repeated-measures ANOVA and Fisher's LSD post hoc tests analyzed the effects of training over time.


Trabecular density (TrDn) at the 4% site increased from 279.8±37.1 to 283.1±36.0 mg/cm(3) in the aerobic group, and from 285.1±24.6 to 287.5±22.9 mg/cm(3) in the combined group over the study period (P≤0.001). Regional sector analyses revealed that impact exercises resulted in localized changes to the medial aspect of the tibia. Small increases in total bone area were observed in the diaphysis (38% site) (P<0.05).


Subtle, regional increases in trabecular density may be an early measurable manifestation of bone quality changes.

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