Muscle density predicts changes in bone density and strength: A prospective study in girls

D. R. Laddu, J. N. Farr, V. R. Lee, R. M. Blew, C. Stump, L. Houtkooper, T. G. Lohman, S. B. Going

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Objective: We sought to determine whether muscle density, an index of skeletal muscle fat content, was predictive of 2-year changes in weight-bearing bone parameters in young girls. Methods: Two-year prospective data from 248 girls, aged 8-13 years at baseline. Peripheral quantitative computed tomography was used to measure changes in bone strength indices (bone strength index [BSI, mg2/mm4] and strength-strain index [SSIp, mm3]) and volumetric bone mineral density [vBMD, mg/cm3] at distal metaphyseal and diaphyseal regions of the femur and tibia, as well as calf and thigh muscle density (mg/cm3), and muscle cross-sectional area (MCSA, mm2), indices of skeletal muscle fat content and muscle force production, respectively. Results: After controlling for potential confounders, greater gains in femur BSI (44%, P<0.002), total femur vBMD (114%, P<0.04) and femur trabecular vBMD (306%, P<0.002) occurred in girls in the lowest versus the highest groups of baseline thigh muscle density. Greater gains in tibial BSI (25%, P<0.03) and trabecular vBMD (190%, P<0.002) were also observed in the lowest versus the highest baseline calf muscle density groups. Conclusion: Baseline muscle density is a significant predictor of changes in bone density and bone strength in young girls during a period of rapid skeletal development. NIH/NICHD #HD-050775.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)195-204
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Musculoskeletal Neuronal Interactions
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2014


  • Bone development
  • Girls
  • Peripheral quantitative computed tomography (pQCT)
  • Skeletal muscle fat content
  • Volumetric bone mineral density (vBMD)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Physiology
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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