Author(s): Ferrari SL, Chevalley T, Bonjour JP, Rizzoli R
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Abstract Whether peak bone mass is low among children with fractures remains uncertain. In a cohort of 125 girls followed over 8.5 years, 42 subjects reported 58 fractures. Among those, BMC gain at multiple sites and vertebral bone size at pubertal maturity were significantly decreased. Hence, childhood fractures may be markers of low peak bone mass acquisition and persistent skeletal fragility. INTRODUCTION: Fractures in childhood may result from a deficit in bone mass accrual during rapid longitudinal growth. Whether low bone mass persists beyond this period however remains unknown. MATERIALS AND METHODS: BMC at the spine, radius, hip, and femur diaphysis was prospectively measured over 8.5 years in 125 girls using DXA. Differences in bone mass and size between girls with and without fractures were analyzed using nonparametric tests. The contribution of genetic factors was evaluated by mother-daughter correlations and that of calcium intake by Cox proportional hazard models. RESULTS: Fifty-eight fractures occurred in 42 among 125 girls (cumulative incidence, 46.4\%), one-half of all fractures affecting the forearm and wrist. Girls with and without fractures had similar age, height, weight. and calcium intake at all time-points. Before and during early puberty, BMC and width of the radius diaphysis was lower in the fracture compared with no-fracture group (p < 0.05), whereas aBMD and BMAD were similar in the two groups. At pubertal maturity (Tanner's stage 5, mean age +/- SD, 16.4 +/- 0.5 years), BMC at the ultradistal radius (UD Rad.), femur trochanter, and lumbar spine (LS), and LS projected bone area were all significantly lower in girls with fractures. Throughout puberty, BMC gain at these sites was also decreased in the fracture group (LS, -8.0\%, p = 0.015; UD Rad., -12.0\%, p = 0.004; trochanter, -8.4\%, p = 0.05 versus no fractures). BMC was highly correlated between prepuberty and pubertal maturity (R = 0.54-0.81) and between mature daughters and their mothers (R = 0.32-0.46). Calcium intake was not related to fracture risk. CONCLUSIONS: Girls with fractures have decreased bone mass gain in the axial and appendicular skeleton and reduced vertebral bone size when reaching pubertal maturity. Taken together with the evidence of tracking and heritability for BMC, these observations indicate that childhood fractures may be markers for low peak bone mass and persistent bone fragility.
This article was published in J Bone Miner Res
and referenced in Pediatrics & Therapeutics