Cross-sectional analysis of the association between fragility fractures and bone microarchitecture in older men: The STRAMBO study



Areal bone mineral density (aBMD) measured by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) identifies 20% of men who will sustain fragility fractures. Thus we need better fracture predictors in men. We assessed the association between the low-trauma prevalent fractures and bone microarchitecture assessed at the distal radius and tibia by high-resolution peripheral quantitative computed tomography (HR-pQCT) in 920 men aged 50 years of older. Ninety-eight men had vertebral fractures identified on the vertebral fracture assessment software of the Hologic Discovery A device using the semiquantitative criteria, whereas 100 men reported low-trauma peripheral fractures. Men with vertebral fractures had poor bone microarchitecture. However, in the men with vertebral fractures, only cortical volumetric density (D.cort) and cortical thickness (C.Th) remained significantly lower at both the radius and tibia after adjustment for aBMD of ultradistal radius and hip, respectively. Low D.cort and C.Th were associated with higher prevalence of vertebral fractures regardless of aBMD. Severe vertebral fractures also were associated with poor trabecular microarchitecture regardless of aBMD. Men with peripheral fractures had poor bone microarchitecture. However, after adjustment for aBMD, all microarchitectural parameters became nonsignificant. In 15 men with multiple peripheral fractures, trabecular spacing and distribution remained increased after adjustment for aBMD. Thus, in men, vertebral fractures and their severity are associated with impaired cortical bone, even after adjustment for aBMD. The association between peripheral fractures and bone microarchitecture was weaker and nonsignificant after adjustment for aBMD. Thus bone microarchitecture may be a determinant of bone fragility in men, which should be investigated in prospective studies. © 2011 American Society for Bone and Mineral Research.