Marked Decline in Trabecular Bone Mineral Content in Healthy Men with Age: Lack of Association with Sex Steroid Levels

Diane E. Meier, Eric S. Orwoll, Edward J. Keenan, Richard M. Fagerstrom

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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To define the association of age‐related changes in bone mineral content to gonadal function in normal men, we measured radial (largely cortical) and vertebral (largely trabecular) bone mineral content (BMC), testosterone (total and free), estrone and estradiol‐17B levels in 62 healthy subjects, ages 30 to 92. Radial BMC fell 2 to 3.4% per decade but vertebral trabecular BMC declined more rapidly at 12% per decade. Of the sex steroids measured the only statistically significant change occurred in free testosterone levels which decreased with age (r = −.57, P < .0001). Free testosterone levels correlated significantly with trabecular vertebral BMC (r = .458, P < .0002) but not with bone mineral measures at the predominantly cortical radial sites. However, by multiple regression analysis free testosterone did not add to the effect of age on vertebral BMC. There were no associations of total testosterone, estrone, or estradiol levels to bone mineral content at any of the three sites measured in these healthy men. Age‐related declines in male gonadal function do not appear to be of primary importance in male age‐related bone loss. 1987 The American Geriatrics Society

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)189-197
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of the American Geriatrics Society
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1987


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geriatrics and Gerontology

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