Author(s): Wren TA, Kim PS, Janicka A, Sanchez M, Gilsanz V
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Abstract CONTEXT: The time of life in which peak bone mass in the axial skeleton is attained has been the subject of considerable controversy, with estimates ranging from the time of sexual and skeletal maturity to the fifth decade of life. OBJECTIVE: The objective was to examine whether dual energy x-ray absorptiometry (DXA) and computed tomography (CT) values for bone mass and bone density (BD) in the axial skeleton increase after sexual and skeletal maturity. DESIGN/PARTICIPANTS: Measurements of vertebral bone mineral density and bone mineral content (BMC) by DXA and vertebral BD and BMC by CT were obtained in 50 sexually and skeletally mature white females at baseline and 3 yr later. CT BMC values were calculated through analysis of vertebral volume in relation to density (BMC = vertebral volume x BD). RESULTS: Although neither CT BD nor BMC measures changed with time, DXA bone mineral density and BMC values were significantly higher at follow-up (P < 0.0001). Despite strong correlations between DXA and CT bone measures, DXA yielded greater changes in bone values in 47 of 50 subjects. CONCLUSIONS: Bone acquisition in the lumbar spine as measured by CT reaches its peak by sexual and skeletal maturity. In contrast, bone values by DXA continue to increase after puberty and cessation of longitudinal growth. Increases in DXA measures are likely a reflection of inhomogeneous changes in soft tissues around the spine or of disproportionate increases in the posterior elements of the vertebrae rather than of changes within the vertebral body.
This article was published in J Clin Endocrinol Metab
and referenced in Journal of Osteoporosis and Physical Activity