To use our website in an optimal way, please activate JavaScript in your Browser.

Bone, 2010; 47(3): 511-8, PMID: 20561989

Structural analysis of the human tibia in men with spinal cord injury by tomographic (pQCT) serial scans

Year: 2010

Rittweger J, Goosey-Tolfrey VL, Cointry G, Ferretti JL
Institute for Biomedical Research into Human Movement and Health, Manchester Metropolitan University, John Dalton Tower, Oxford Road, Manchester, M1 5GD, UK.


Spinal cord injury (SCI), as a primarily neurological disorder that causes muscular atrophy, is well known to be associated with sub-lesional bone losses. These losses are more pronounced from epiphyseal than from diaphyseal regions. We hypothesized that this discrepancy may be explained by anatomical variation in endocortical circumference. Nine men who had attracted SCI 9 to 32 (mean 21.4) years prior to study inclusion were matched to able bodied control (Ctrl) people by age, height and weight. Serial scans by peripheral quantitative computed tomography were obtained from the tibia at steps corresponding to 5%-steps of the tibias length (s05 to s95, from distal to the proximal end of the tibia). As expected, SCI people had lower total bone mineral content (vBMC.tot) than able bodied control people (P<0.001 at all sites). This group difference (DeltavBMC.tot) was more pronounced at the distal and proximal tibia than in the shaft (P<0.001), and it amounted to 51% at s05, to 22% at s40, and to 47% at s95. Both endocortical and periosteal circumference were better predictors of DeltavBMC.tot (R(2)=0.98 and R(2)=0.97, respectively; P<0.001 in both cases) than vBMC.tot (R(2)=0.58, P<0.001), suggesting that anatomical variation in geometry, rather than in bone mass can explain differential rates of bone loss after SCI. Moreover, the s04:s38 ratio in vBMC.tot was found to be 1.00 (95% confidence interval: 0.95-1.05) in the Ctrl group, and 0.63 in the SCI group (P<0.001, 95% confidence interval: 0.54-0.68). These findings offer a rationale to account for the discrepancy between epiphyseal and diaphyseal bone losses following SCI. The suggestion is that the bone adaptive responses involved are limited in time, and that the reduced surface:volume ratio constitutes a limit within the available time window, in particular in the diaphysis. Finally, the drastically reduced s04:s38 vBMC.tot ratio observed in the SCI group in this study provides a rationale to scrutinize this Capozza index also in other studies as a general indicator of immobilisation-induced bone loss.

GID: 2336; Last update: 14.07.2010