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J Bone Miner Res. 1994 Aug;9(8):1267-76.

Reference data for bone mass, calciotropic hormones, and biochemical markers of bone remodeling in older (55-75) postmenopausal white and black women.

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Department of Internal Medicine, Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan.


From a random sample of our institution's health maintenance organization (HMO), we recruited 250 white women and 112 black women, aged 55-75, all of whom were 10 or more years postmenospause with minimal estrogen exposure and free of osteoporosis, other metabolic bone disease, and medical, surgical, or therapeutic situations that may influence bone loss. Bone mass was measured in the radius, spine, and femur by DXA and in L1 by QCT. Serum samples were analyzed for parathyroid hormone, calcidiol, calcitriol, osteocalcin, and bone alkaline phosphatase and urine samples analyzed for creatinine, calcium, and hydroxyproline. Mean Z score, based on published reference data for forearm and femoral neck BMD in the white women, was not significantly different from zero, but mean Z score at the lumbar spine was 0.6 (p < 0.001), 17.2% of the individual values being > 2.0. In normal white women (BMI < 27.3, n = 143), Z score was still > 2.0 in 10.3%, suggesting that the upper bound of the published reference interval may be too low. After adjustment for body mass index, BMD was greater in the forearm (9.8%), spine (8.7%), and femoral neck (14.7%) in black women (p < 0.001 at all sites). At L1, adjusted BMC in the black women was 37.4% greater than in the white women (p < 0.001). Serum calcidiol was significantly lower and serum PTH and calcitriol significantly higher in the black women. Despite this, biochemical markers of bone resorption and formation were significantly lower in the black women. We conclude that skeletally healthy older black women have a greater bone mass and lower rates of bone remodeling than a comparable group of white women. These data can serve as reference intervals for the variables measured.

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