Marrow adiposity assessed on transiliac crest biopsy samples correlates with noninvasive measurement of marrow adiposity by proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy (1H-MRS) at the spine but not the femur

A. Cohen, W. Shen, D. W. Dempster, H. Zhou, Robert R. Recker, Joan M. Lappe, A. Kepley, M. Kamanda-Kosseh, M. Bucovsky, E. M. Stein, T. L. Nickolas, E. Shane

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Summary: Measurement of marrow fat (MF) is important to the study of bone fragility. We measured MF on iliac biopsies and by spine/hip magnetic resonance spectroscopy in the same subjects. Noninvasively assessed spine MF and histomorphometrically assessed MF correlated well. MF quantity and relationships with bone volume differed by measurement site. Introduction: Excess marrow fat has been implicated in the pathogenesis of osteoporosis in several populations. In the bone marrow, adipocytes and osteoblasts share a common precursor and are reciprocally regulated. In addition, adipocytes may secrete toxic fatty acids and adipokines that adversely affect osteoblasts. Measurement of marrow fat is important to the study of mechanisms of bone fragility. Marrow fat can be quantified on bone biopsy samples by histomorphometry and noninvasively by proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy (1H-MRS). In this study, we evaluate relationships between marrow fat assessed using both methods in the same subjects for the first time. Methods: Sixteen premenopausal women, nine with idiopathic osteoporosis and seven normal controls, had marrow fat measured at the iliac crest by bone biopsy and at the lumbar spine (L3) and proximal femur by 1H-MRS. Results: At L3, fat fraction by 1H-MRS correlated directly and significantly with marrow fat variables on iliac crest biopsies (r = 0.5–0.8). In contrast, there were no significant correlations between fat fraction at the femur and marrow fat on biopsies. Marrow fat quantity (%) was greater at the femur than at L3 and the iliac crest and correlated inversely with total hip and femoral neck BMD by DXA. Conclusions: In summary, measurement of marrow fat in transiliac crest biopsies correlates with marrow fat at the spine but not the proximal femur by 1H-MRS. There were site-specific differences in marrow fat quantity and in the relationships between marrow fat and bone volume.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2471-2478
Number of pages8
JournalOsteoporosis International
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Oct 28 2015


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Medicine(all)

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