There are significant relationships between bone marrow density, visceral adipose tissue, and bone indices in children, according to study results presented at the American Society for Bone and Mineral Research 2019 Annual Meeting, held September 20 to 23 in Orlando, Florida.

The cross-sectional study used existing data on bone marrow density, visceral adipose tissue, and muscle density from healthy children in the early stages of puberty (N=105) to determine whether specific fat depots are linked to variability in bone indices at this age. Dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry was used to determine total body areal bone mineral density (aBMD), bone mineral content, bone area, and visceral adipose tissue. In addition, peripheral quantitative computed tomography was used to determine total area, cortical area, cortical volumetric bone density, periosteal and endosteal circumferences, strength strain index, bone marrow density, and muscle density at the 66% tibia.

Using independent samples t tests, the researchers assessed differences between boys and girls. They used multivariate regression models to determine whether bone marrow density, visceral adipose tissue, or muscle density independently accounted for the variability of bone mass or strength.

In the cohort, 61 were white and 44 were black; 49 were boys and 56 were girls. Mean age was 10.8±1.2 years.


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Compared with girls, boys were older (+1.4 years) and had greater fat-free soft tissue (+2.7 kg) and less fat mass (-3.3 kg; all P <.05). The researchers did not find any significant differences for bone parameters between boys and girls.

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After adjusting for race, height, and fat-free soft tissue, the results indicated that bone marrow density was an independent positive predictor of total body aBMD (β=0.021±0.005), bone mineral content (β=37.874±11.282), and cortical area (β=4.507±2.070; all P <.05). Bone marrow density was also negatively associated with endosteal circumference (β=-1.435±0.524; P =.007).

The researchers found that visceral adipose tissue was an independent negative predictor of total body aBMD (β=-0.019±0.007; P <.05).

The results did not indicate any other associations for the other bone mass and strength parameters.

“Assessment of specific fat depots using prospective study designs could provide valuable insight into better understanding the impact of obesity on bone outcomes in growing children,” the researchers wrote.

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Reference

Duckham RL, Laing EM, Lewis RD. Do specific fat depots influence the potential for optimal bone development in growing children? Presented at: American Society of Bone and Mineral Research 2019 Annual Meeting; September 20-23, 2019; Orlando, FL. Abstract LB SAT-981.