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Bone., 2009; 45(4): 760-7, PMID: 19573632

History of amenorrhoea compromises some of the exercise-induced benefits in cortical and trabecular bone in the peripheral and axial skeleton: a study in retired elite gymnasts

Year: 2009

Ducher G, Eser P, Hill B, Bass S
Centre for Physical Activity and Nutrition Research, School of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences, Faculty of Health, Medicine, Nursing and Behavioural Sciences, Deakin University, 221 Burwood Highway, Burwood 3125 VIC, Australia.


BACKGROUND: Female gymnasts frequently present with overt signs of hypoestrogenism, such as late menarche or menstrual dysfunction. The objective was to investigate the impact of history of amenorrhoea on the exercise-induced skeletal benefits in bone geometry and volumetric density in retired elite gymnasts. SUBJECTS AND METHODS: 24 retired artistic gymnasts, aged 17-36 years, who had been training for at least 15 h/week at the peak of their career and had been retired for 3-18 years were recruited. They had not been engaged in more than 2 h/week of regular physical activity since retirement. Former gymnasts who reported history of amenorrhoea ("AME", n=12: either primary or secondary amenorrhoea) were compared with former gymnasts ("NO-AME", n=12) and controls ("C", n=26) who did not report history of amenorrhoea. Bone mineral content (BMC), total bone area (ToA) and total volumetric density (ToD) were measured by pQCT at the radius and tibia (4% and 66%). Trabecular volumetric density (TrD) and bone strength index (BSI) were measured at the 4% sites. Cortical area (CoA), cortical thickness (CoTh), medullary area (MedA), cortical volumetric density (CoD), stress-strain index (SSI) and muscle and fat area were measured at the 66% sites. Spinal BMC, areal BMD and bone mineral apparent density (BMAD) were measured by DXA. RESULTS: Menarcheal age was delayed in AME when compared to NO-AME (16.4+/-0.5 years vs. 13.3+/-0.4 years, p<0.001). No differences were detected between AME and C for height-adjusted spinal BMC, aBMD and BMAD, TrD and BSI at the distal radius and tibia, CoA at the proximal radius, whereas these parameters were greater in NO-AME than C (p<0.05-0.005). AME had lower TrD and BSI at the distal radius, and lower spinal BMAD than NO-AME (p<0.05) but they had greater ToA at the distal radius (p<0.05). CONCLUSION: Greater spinal BMC, aBMD and BMAD as well as trabecular volumetric density and bone strength in the peripheral skeleton were found in former gymnasts without a history of menstrual dysfunction but not in those who reported either primary or secondary amenorrhoea. History of amenorrhoea may have compromised some of the skeletal benefits associated with high-impact gymnastics training.

GID: 1922; Last update: 07.09.2009