Osteoporosis is associated with increased marrow fat content and decreased marrow fat unsaturation: A proton MR spectroscopy study

Authors

  • David K.W. Yeung PhD,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Diagnostic Radiology and Organ Imaging, Chinese University of Hong Kong, Prince of Wales Hospital, Shatin, Hong Kong
    • Department of Diagnostic Radiology and Organ Imaging, Chinese University of Hong Kong, Prince of Wales Hospital, 30-32 Ngan Shing St., Shatin, Hong Kong SAR, China
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  • James F. Griffith MD,

    1. Department of Diagnostic Radiology and Organ Imaging, Chinese University of Hong Kong, Prince of Wales Hospital, Shatin, Hong Kong
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  • Gregory E. Antonio MD,

    1. Department of Diagnostic Radiology and Organ Imaging, Chinese University of Hong Kong, Prince of Wales Hospital, Shatin, Hong Kong
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  • Francis K.H. Lee MSc,

    1. Department of Diagnostic Radiology and Organ Imaging, Chinese University of Hong Kong, Prince of Wales Hospital, Shatin, Hong Kong
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  • Jean Woo MD,

    1. Department of Community and Family Medicine, Chinese University of Hong Kong, Prince of Wales Hospital, Shatin, Hong Kong
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  • Ping C. Leung MD

    1. Department of Orthopaedics and Traumatology, Chinese University of Hong Kong, Prince of Wales Hospital, Shatin, Hong Kong
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Abstract

Purpose

To use proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy (1H-MRS) to evaluate vertebral marrow fat, and to determine whether bone density correlates with fat content and fat unsaturation levels in postmenopausal women.

Materials and Methods

Fifty-three women (mean age = 70 years) underwent dual energy x-ray absorptiometry and 1H-MRS, and 12 young female controls (mean age = 28 years) underwent 1H-MRS of the lumber spine. Water and lipid peak amplitudes were measured to calculate fat content and fat unsaturation index. Spearman's correlation tests and a t-test comparison of means were applied.

Results

1H-MRS was successful in 15 normal, 15 osteopenic, and 20 osteoporotic subjects, and in all controls. Marrow fat content was significantly elevated in osteoporotic (65.5% ± 10%) and osteopenic (63.5% ± 9.3%) subjects compared to normal subjects (56.3% ± 11.2%) and young controls (29% ± 9.6%). The fat unsaturation index was significantly decreased in osteoporotic (0.091 ± 0.013) and osteopenic (0.097 ± 0.014) subjects compared to normal subjects (0.114 ± 0.016) and young controls (0.127 ± 0.031). A good inverse correlation was observed between the fat content and the unsaturation index (rs = −0.53, P < 0.0001).

Conclusion

Osteoporosis is associated with increased marrow fat. As marrow fat increases, saturated lipids appear to increase preferentially to unsaturated lipids. J. Magn. Reson. Imaging 2005;22:279–285. © 2005 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

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