Sarcopenia and its relationship with bone mineral density in middle-aged and elderly European men

S Verschueren, E Gielen, T W O'Neill, S R Pye, J E Adams, K A Ward, F C Wu, P Szulc, M Laurent, F Claessens, D Vanderschueren, S Boonen
Osteoporosis International 2013, 24 (1): 87-98

UNLABELLED: The aim of this study was to determine the relationship between reduced muscle mass (sarcopenia) and areal bone mineral density (BMD(a)) in middle-aged and elderly community-dwelling European men. Men with sarcopenia had significantly lower BMD(a) and were more likely to have osteoporosis compared with men without sarcopenia.

INTRODUCTION: In men, the relationship between reduced muscle mass (sarcopenia) and BMD(a) is unclear. This study aimed to determine this relationship in middle-aged and elderly community-dwelling men.

METHODS: Men aged 40-79 years from the Manchester (UK) and Leuven (Belgium) cohorts of the European Male Ageing Study were invited to attend for assessment including dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry, from which appendicular lean mass (aLM), fat mass (FM) and whole-body, spine and hip BMD(a) were determined. Relative appendicular skeletal muscle mass (RASM) was calculated as aLM/height². Muscle strength was assessed in subjects from Leuven. Sarcopenia was defined by RASM at <7.26 kg/m² and by the recent definition of the European Working Group on Sarcopenia in Older People (RASM at <7.26 kg/m(2) plus low muscle function). Linear regression was used to determine the associations between aLM, FM, muscle strength and BMD(a) and logistic regression to determine the association between sarcopenia and osteoporosis.

RESULTS: Six hundred seventy-nine men with a mean age of 59.6 (SD = 10.7), contributed data to the analysis; 11.9 % were sarcopenic by the conventional definition. After adjustment for age and centre, aLM, RASM and FM were positively associated with BMD(a). Men with RASM at <7.26 kg/m² had significantly lower BMD(a) compared with those with RASM at ≥7.26 kg/m(2). In a multivariable model, aLM was most consistently associated with BMD(a). Men with sarcopenia were more likely to have osteoporosis compared with those with normal RASM (odds ratio = 3.0; 95 % CI = 1.6-5.8).

CONCLUSIONS: Sarcopenia is associated with low BMD(a) and osteoporosis in middle-aged and elderly men. Further studies are necessary to assess whether maintaining muscle mass contributes to prevent osteoporosis.

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