Adaptations in tibial cortical thickness and total volumetric bone density in postmenopausal South Asian women with small bone size.

Bone

PubMedID: 23531785

Darling AL, Hakim OA, Horton K, Gibbs MA, Cui L, Berry JL, Lanham-New SA, Hart KH. Adaptations in tibial cortical thickness and total volumetric bone density in postmenopausal South Asian women with small bone size. Bone. 2013;55(1):36-43.
There is some evidence that South Asian women may have an increased risk of osteoporosis compared with Caucasian women, although whether South Asians are at increased risk of fracture is not clear. It is unknown whether older South Asian women differ from Caucasian women in bone geometry. This is the first study, to the authors' knowledge, to use peripheral Quantitative Computed Tomography (pQCT) to measure radial and tibial bone geometry in postmenopausal South Asian women. In comparison to Caucasian women, Asian women had smaller bone size at the 4% (-18% p<0.001) and 66% radius (-15% p=0.04) as well as increased total density at the 4% (+13% p=0.01) radius. For the tibia, they had a smaller bone size at the 4% (-16% p=0.005) and 14% (-38% p=0.002) sites. Also, Asians had increased cortical thickness (-17% p=0.04) at the 38% tibia, (in proportion to bone size (-30% p=0.003)). Furthermore, at the 4% and 14% tibia there were increased total densities (+12% to +29% p<0.01) and at the 14% tibia there was increased cortical density (+5% p=0.005) in Asians. These differences at the 14% and 38% (but not 4%) remained statistically significant after adjustment for Body Mass Index (BMI). These adaptations are similar to those seen previously in Chinese women. Asian women had reduced strength at the radius and tibia, evidenced by the 20-40% reduction in both polar Strength Strain Index (SSIp) and fracture load (under bending). Overall, the smaller bone size in South Asians is likely to be detrimental to bone strength, despite some adaptations in tibial cortical thickness and tibial and radial density which may partially compensate for this.