Trabecular Bone Morphology Changes May Predict Bone Strength in Girls

Close-up of bone tissue
Close-up of bone tissue
Study investigated the correlations between age and body composition with trabecular morphology in a cohort of healthy girls age 9 to 18.

Muscle mass and adiposity during late childhood and adolescent maturity may be associated with trabecular morphology that ultimately contributes to long-term skeletal health, according to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism.

Researchers at an academic research center analyzed volumetric bone density, microarchitecture, and trabecular morphology at the distal radius and tibia via the results of high-resolution peripheral quantitative computed tomography (HR-pQCT) and individual trabecula segmentation (ITS) studies in an effort to identify associations between trabecular morphology and increasing maturity and body composition in 86 healthy young girls age 9 to 18.

Study results found that with increasing bone age there was a significant increase in plate-like bone volume fraction (pBV/TV) at the tibia (R=0.41, P <.001)), and a significant decrease in rod-like BV/TV (rBV/TV) at both radius (R= –0.34, P =.003) and tibia (R= –0.28, P =.008). 

Lean mass was found to be positively correlated with pBV/TV and at the radius and tibia (P =.022 and P =.025, respectively), with plate thickness found at both the radius and tibia. Of note, a positive correlation was found between fat mass and rBV/TV at the tibia. The pBV/TV was also found to be positively correlated with spine bone mineral density at the distal radius and tibia.

Researchers concluded that in healthy young girls during pubertal growth the data suggest trabecular lean mass is positively correlated with plate-like trabecular morphology changes at both the radius and tibia, but particularly at the radius “in a manner predicted to increase bone strength and to better retain architectural integrity in the face of aging and hypogonadism.”

Related Articles


Mitchell DM, Caksa S, Yuan A, Bouxsein ML, Misra M, Burnett-Bowie SM. Trabecular bone morphology correlates with skeletal maturity and body composition in healthy adolescent girls [published online November 7, 2017]. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. doi:10.1210/jc.2017-01785