The effect of gonadal status on body composition and bone mineral density in transfusion-dependent thalassemia
Wong P, Fuller PJ, Gillespie MT, Kartsogiannis V, Milat F, Bowden DK, Strauss BJ. Osteoporos Int. 2013 Aug 1. [Epub ahead of print]

Source

Prince Henry's Institute, PO Box 5152, Clayton, VIC, 3168, Australia, phillip.wong@princehenrys.org.

Abstract

Patients with transfusion-dependent thalassemia have abnormal growth, hormonal deficits, and increased bone loss. We investigated the relationship between skeletal muscle mass, fat mass, and bone mineral density in adult subjects with transfusion-dependent thalassemia based on their gonadal status. Our findings show that hypogonadism attenuates the strength of the muscle-bone relationship in males but strengthens the positive correlation of skeletal muscle mass and fat mass in female subjects.

INTRODUCTION:

Transfusion-dependent thalassemia is associated with a high prevalence of fractures. Multiple hormonal complications, in particular hypogonadism, can lead to changes in body composition and bone mineral density (BMD). We investigated for the first time the relationship between skeletal muscle mass (SMM), fat mass, and BMD in adult subjects with transfusion-dependent thalassemia based on their gonadal status.

METHODS:

A retrospective cohort study of 186 adults with transfusion-dependent thalassemia was analyzed. Body composition and BMD were measured using dual energy X-ray absorptiometry. The association between skeletal muscle, fat, and BMD was investigated through uni-, multi-, and stepwise regression analyses after adjusting for multicollinearity. SMM was derived using the formula, SMM = 1.19 × ALST-1.65, where ALST is equivalent to the sum of both arm and leg lean tissue mass.

RESULTS:

There were 186 subjects, males (43.5 %) and females (56.5 %), with a median age of 36.5. Hypogonadism was reported in 44.4 % of males and 44.7 % of females. SMM and BMD were positively correlated and strongest in eugonadal males (0.36 ≤ R 2 ≤ 0.59), but the association was attenuated in hypogonadal males. SMM (0.27 ≤ R 2 ≤ 0.69) and total fat mass (0.26 ≤ R 2 ≤ 0.55) were positively correlated with BMD in hypogonadal females, but the correlation was less pronounced in eugonadal females. Leg lean tissue mass and arm lean tissue mass in males and females, respectively, were most highly correlated to BMD in the stepwise regression analysis.

CONCLUSION:

Hypogonadism attenuates the strength of the muscle-bone relationship in males but strengthens the positive correlation of skeletal muscle mass and fat mass in female subjects. This study supports the notion that exercise is important for maintaining BMD and the need to optimize treatment of hypogonadism in patients with transfusion-dependent thalassemia.