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09.12.2015 | Original Article | Ausgabe 5/2016

Osteoporosis International 5/2016

Bone matrix mineralization is preserved during early perimenopausal stage in healthy women: a paired biopsy study

Osteoporosis International > Ausgabe 5/2016
B. M. Misof, P. Roschger, S. Blouin, R. Recker, K. Klaushofer



Bone matrix mineralization based on quantitative backscatter electron imaging remained unchanged during the first year of menopause in paired transiliac biopsy samples from healthy women. This suggests that the reported early perimenopausal reductions in bone mineral density are caused by factors other than decreases in the degree of mineralization.


It is unknown whether perimenopausal loss of bone mass is associated with a drop in bone matrix mineralization.


For this purpose, we measured the bone mineralization density distribution (BMDD) by quantitative backscatter electron imaging (qBEI) in n = 17 paired transiliac bone biopsy samples at premenopausal baseline and 12 months after last menses (obtained at average ages of 49 ± 2 and 55 ± 2 years, respectively) in healthy women. For interpretation of BMDD outcomes, previously measured bone mineral density (BMD) and biochemical and histomorphometric markers of bone turnover were revisited for the present biopsy cohort.


Menopause significantly decreased BMD at the lumbar spine (−4.5 %) and femoral neck (−3.8 %), increased the fasting urinary hydroxyproline/creatinine ratio (+60 %, all p < 0.01) and histomorphometric bone formation rate (+25 %, p < 0.05), but affected neither cancellous nor cortical BMDD variables (paired comparison p > 0.05). Mean calcium concentrations of cancellous (Cn.CaMean) and cortical bone (Ct.CaMean) were within normal range (p > 0.05 compared to established reference data). Ct.CaMean was significantly correlated with Cn.CaMean before (R = 0.81, p < 0.001) and after menopause (R = 0.80, p < 0.001) and to cortical porosity of mineralized tissue (Ct.Po.) after menopause (R = −0.57, p = 0.02).


Surprisingly, the BMDD was found not affected by the changes in bone turnover rates in this cohort. This suggests that the substantial increase in bone formation rates took place shortly before the second biopsy, and the bone mineralization changes lag behind. We conclude that during the first year after the last menses, the degree of bone matrix mineralization is preserved and does not contribute to the observed reductions in BMD.

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