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Bone. 1996 Jul;19(1):69-72.

Effects of hormone replacement therapy on cancellous bone microstructure in postmenopausal women.

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Department of Medicine, University of Cambridge School of Clinical Medicine, Addenbrooke's Hospital, UK.


Menopausal bone loss is associated with disruption of cancellous bone architecture which has adverse mechanical effects and is believed to be irreversible. The aim of this study was to examine the effects of long-term hormone replacement therapy on cancellous bone structure in women with postmenopausal osteoporosis. Iliac crest biopsies from 22 women with osteopenia or osteoporosis were obtained before and after hormone replacement therapy (mean duration 23.5 months). Cancellous bone architecture was assessed by strut analysis, trabecular bone pattern factor, and marrow star volume. Post-treatment biopsies showed no significant changes in any of the structural indices assessed. Our results suggest that hormone replacement therapy preserves existing cancellous bone structure but provide no evidence that this treatment is able to reverse structural disruption in women with postmenopausal osteopenia or osteoporosis.

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