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Muscle volume is related to trabecular and cortical bone architecture in typically developing children

Bajaj, Deepti and Allerton, Brianne M. and Kirby, Joshua T. and Miller, Freeman and Rowe, David A. and Pohlig, Ryan T. and Modlesky, Christopher M. (2015) Muscle volume is related to trabecular and cortical bone architecture in typically developing children. BONE, 81. pp. 217-227. ISSN 8756-3282

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Introduction: Muscle is strongly related to cortical bone architecture in children; however, the relationship between muscle volume and trabecular bone architecture is poorly studied. The aim of this study was to determine if muscle volume is related to trabecular bone architecture in children and if the relationship is different than the relationship between muscle volume and cortical bone architecture. Materials and methods: Forty typically developing children (20 boys and 20 girls; 6 to 12. y) were included in the study. Measures of trabecular bone architecture [i.e., apparent trabecular bone volume to total volume (appBV/TV), trabecular number (appTb.N), trabecular thickness (appTb.Th) and trabecular separation (appTb.Sp)] in the distal femur, cortical bone architecture [cortical volume, total volume, section modulus (Z) and polar moment of inertia (J)] in the midfemur, muscle volume in the midthigh and femur length were assessed using magnetic resonance imaging. Total physical activity and moderate-to-vigorous physical activity were assessed using an accelerometer-based activity monitor worn around the waist for four days. Calcium intake was assessed using diet records. Relationships among the measures were tested using multiple linear regression analysis. Results: Muscle volume was moderately-to-strongly related to measures of trabecular bone architecture [appBV/TV (r=0.81), appTb.N (r=0.53), appTb.Th (r=0.67), appTb.Sp (r=-0.71); all p<0.001] but more strongly related to measures of cortical bone architecture [cortical volume (r=0.96), total volume (r=0.94), Z (r=0.94) and J (r=0.92; all p<0.001)]. Similar relationships were observed between femur length and measures of trabecular (p<0.01) and cortical (p<0.001) bone architecture. Sex, physical activity and calcium intake were not related to any measure of bone architecture (p>0.05). Because muscle volume and femur length were strongly related (r=0.91, p<0.001), muscle volume was scaled for femur length (muscle volume/femur length<sup>2.77</sup>). When muscle volume/femur length<sup>2.77</sup> was included in a regression model with femur length, sex, physical activity and calcium intake, muscle volume/femur length<sup>2.77</sup> was a significant predictor of appBV/TV, appTb.Th and appTb.Sp (partial r=0.44 to 0.49, p<0.05) and all measures of cortical bone architecture (partial r=0.47 to 0.54; p<0.01). Conclusions: The findings suggest that muscle volume in the midthigh is related to trabecular bone architecture in the distal femur of typically developing children. The relationship is weaker than the relationship between muscle volume in the midthigh and cortical bone architecture in the midfemur, but the discrepancy is driven, in large part, by the greater dependence of cortical bone architecture measures on femur length.