Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

Understanding the effects of muscle and fat on bone is increasingly important in the optimisation of bone health. We explored relationships between bone microarchitecture and body composition in older men and women from the Hertfordshire Cohort Study. 175 men and 167 women aged 72-81 years were studied. High resolution peripheral quantitative computed tomography (HRpQCT) images (voxel size 82 μm) were acquired from the non-dominant distal radius and tibia with a Scanco XtremeCT scanner. Standard morphological analysis was performed for assessment of macrostructure, densitometry, cortical porosity and trabecular microarchitecture. Body composition was assessed using dual energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) (Lunar Prodigy Advanced). Lean mass index (LMI) was calculated as lean mass divided by height squared and fat mass index (FMI) as fat mass divided by height squared. The mean (standard deviation) age in men and women was 76 (3) years. In univariate analyses, tibial cortical area (p<0.01), cortical thickness (p<0.05) and trabecular number (p<0.01) were positively associated with LMI and FMI in both men and women. After mutual adjustment, relationships between cortical area and thickness were only maintained with LMI [tibial cortical area, β (95% confidence interval (CI)): men 6.99 (3.97,10.01), women 3.59 (1.81,5.38)] whereas trabecular number and density were associated with FMI. Interactions by sex were found, including for the relationships of LMI with cortical area and FMI with trabecular area in both the radius and tibia (p<0.05). In conclusion, LMI and FMI appeared to show independent relationships with bone microarchitecture. Further studies are required to confirm the direction of causality and explore the mechanisms underlying these tissue-specific associations.

Original publication




Journal article



Publication Date





145 - 151


Bone microarchitecture, Epidemiology, Fat, HRpQCT, Mechanostat, Muscle, Absorptiometry, Photon, Adipose Tissue, Adiposity, Aged, Aged, 80 and over, Anthropometry, Body Composition, Bone and Bones, Cohort Studies, Female, Humans, Male, Muscle, Skeletal