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Osteoporos Int. 2014 Aug;25(8):2057-66. doi: 10.1007/s00198-014-2719-0. Epub 2014 Apr 30.

Characterizing microarchitectural changes at the distal radius and tibia in postmenopausal women using HR-pQCT.

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College of Kinesiology, University of Saskatchewan, 87 Campus Drive, Saskatoon, SK, S7N 5B2, Canada,


Limited prospective evidence exists regarding bone microarchitectural deterioration. We report annual changes in trabecular and cortical bone microarchitecture at the distal radius and tibia in postmenopausal women. Lost trabeculae with corresponding increase in trabecular thickness at the radius and thinning tibial cortex indicated trabecularization of the cortex at both sites.


Osteoporosis is characterized by low bone mass and the deterioration of bone microarchitecture. However, limited prospective evidence exists regarding bone microarchitectural changes in postmenopausal women: a population prone to sustaining osteoporotic fractures. Our primary objective was to characterize the annual change in bone area, density, and microarchitecture at the distal radius and distal tibia in postmenopausal women.


Distal radius and tibia were measured using high-resolution peripheral quantitative computed tomography (HR-pQCT) at baseline and 1 year later in 51 women (mean age ± SD, 77 ± 7 years) randomly sampled from the Saskatoon cohort of the Canadian Multicentre Osteoporosis Study (CaMos). We used repeated measures analysis of variance (ANOVA) with Bonferroni adjustment for multiple comparisons to characterize the mean annual change in total density, cortical perimeter, trabecular and cortical bone area, density, content, and microarchitecture. Significant changes were accepted at P < 0.05.


At the distal radius in women without bone-altering drugs, total density (-1.7%) and trabecular number (-6.4%) decreased, while trabecular thickness (+6.0%), separation (+8.6%), and heterogeneity (+12.1%) increased. At their distal tibia, cortical area (-4.5%), density (-1.9%), content (-6.3%), and thickness (-4.4%) decreased, while trabecular area (+0.4%) increased.


The observed loss of trabeculae with concomitant increase in trabecular size at the distal radius and the declined cortical thickness, density, and content at the distal tibia indicated a site-specific trabecularization of the cortical bone in postmenopausal women.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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