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Femoral Volumetric Bone Density, Geometry, and Strength in Relation to 25‐Hydroxy Vitamin D in Older Men

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Low serum 25-hydroxy vitamin D (25(OH)D) concentrations are associated with increased hip fracture risk and decreased femoral areal bone mineral density (BMD) among elderly men. Structural dimensions of the proximal femur and volumetric BMD in cortical and trabecular compartments are also associated with hip fracture risk. However, associations of volumetric BMD or structural dimensions with serum 25(OH)D concentrations among older men remain unclear. In a random sample of 1608 men aged ≥65 years from the Osteoporotic Fractures in Men Study (MrOS), baseline serum 25(OH)D concentrations were measured by liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry assays. Femoral neck geometry and volumetric BMD derived from quantitative computed tomography included integral, cortical, and trabecular volumetric BMD; cross-sectional area; integral and cortical volume; and cortical volume as a percent of integral volume. We studied 888 men with vitamin D, parathyroid hormone (PTH), femoral neck geometry, and BMD measures. Whole-bone femoral strength and load-strength ratio from finite element (FE) analysis were also available for 356 men from this sample. Multivariable linear regression was used to estimate least square means of each femoral measure within quartiles of 25(OH)D adjusted for age, race, body mass index, height, latitude, and season of blood draw. Tests of linear trend in the means were performed across increasing quartile of serum 25(OH)D levels. Mean cortical volume (p trend = 0.006) and cortical volume as a percent of integral volume (p trend < 0.001) increased across increasing quartile of 25(OH)D level. However, overall femoral neck size (area and integral volume) did not vary by 25(OH)D level. Femoral neck volumetric BMD measures increased in a graded manner with higher 25(OH)D levels (p trend < 0.001). Femoral strength, but not load-strength ratio, increased with increasing 25(OH)D. Adjustment for PTH did not materially change these associations. We conclude that in older men, higher levels of endogenous 25(OH)D may increase whole-bone strength by increasing femoral volumetric BMD and cortical volume.

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