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Insulin resistance negatively affects bone quality not quantity: the relationship between bone and adipose tissue

de Araújo IM1, Parreiras-E-Silva LT1, Carvalho AL1, Elias J Jr1, Salmon CEG2, de Paula FJA3.

Osteoporos Int. 2020 Feb 27. doi: 10.1007/s00198-020-05365-5. [Epub ahead of print]

The present study suggests that insulin resistance has no association with bone quantity, but quality.

The literature has contradictory results concerning the influence of insulin resistance on bone. The present study sought to evaluate the association of insulin resistance and adipose tissue with either bone mineral density or the trabecular bone score.

The study included 56 individuals (36 women and 20 men): age = 46.6 ± 14.2 years, weight = 67.8 ± 10.9 kg, height = 1.65 ± 0.10 m and BMI = 24.8 ± 3.9 kg/m2. The investigational protocol included biochemical determinations and bone assessment by dual X-ray absorptiometry for evaluation of bone mineral density and trabecular bone score. Magnetic resonance was employed to estimate visceral, subcutaneous and bone marrow adipose tissues, as well as intrahepatic lipids.

The bone mineral density of the lumbar spine, femoral neck and total hip were not associated with insulin resistance-related parameters [visceral adipose tissue, intrahepatic lipids and homeostatic model assessment of insulin resistance (HOMA-IR)]. In contrast, there was a negative relationship between the trabecular bone score and all these components. The association between the trabecular bone score and HOMA-IR was reinforced after adjustment for age and BMI. Marrow adipose tissue was negatively associated with both bone mineral density and trabecular bone score.

The present study shows that the trabecular bone score is negatively associated with marrow adipose tissue, insulin resistance, visceral adipose tissue and intrahepatic lipid measurements. Additionally, there was a negative relationship between saturated lipids in marrow adipose tissue and the trabecular bone score. These results encourage further studies to investigate the role of the trabecular bone score exam in the clinical evaluation of osteoporosis in conditions of insulin resistance.