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      Bone Mass Increase in Puberty: What Makes It Happen?

      Hormone Research in Paediatrics

      S. Karger AG

      Oestrogen, Puberty, Bone development, Bone strength, Muscle strength, Muscle-bone unit

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          It is now thought that the critical property of bone is strength rather than weight, and that control of bone strength is mainly exercised through the effect of the mechanical loads brought to bear on bone. Muscle contraction places the greatest physiological load on bone, and so the strength of bone must be adapted to muscle strength (the functional muscle-bone unit). The Utah paradigm of skeletal physiology [J Hum Biol 1998;10:599–605] provides a model of bone development that describes how bone structure is regulated by local mechanical effects that can be adjusted by the effects of hormones. The DONALD (Dortmund Nutritional and Anthropometric Longitudinally Designed) study analysed the interaction between the muscle and bone systems in males and females before and during puberty. This study found that differences between the genders in bone adaptation during puberty are at least partly driven by the influence of oestrogen in females. Testosterone seems to have no direct relevant effect on bone during puberty, but may be implicated in the greater amount of muscle mass achieved in boys compared with girls.

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          Most cited references 25

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          Bone "mass" and the "mechanostat": a proposal.

          The observed fit of bone mass to a healthy animal's typical mechanical usage indicates some mechanism or mechanisms monitor that usage and control the three longitudinal growth, bone modeling, and BMU-based remodeling activities that directly determine bone mass. That mechanism could be named a mechanostat. Accumulated evidence suggests it includes the bone itself, plus mechanisms that transform its mechanical usage into appropriate signals, plus other mechanisms that detect those signals and then direct the above three biologic activities. In vivo studies have shown that bone strains in or above the 1500-3000 microstrain range cause bone modelling to increase cortical bone mass, while strains below the 100-300 microstrain range release BMU-based remodeling which then removes existing cortical-endosteal and trabecular bone. That arrangement provides a dual system in which bone modeling would adapt bone mass to gross overloading, while BMU-based remodeling would adapt bone mass to gross underloading, and the above strain ranges would be the approximate "setpoints" of those responses. The anatomical distribution of those mechanical usage effects are well known. If circulating agents or disease changed the effective setpoints of those responses their bone mass effects should copy the anatomical distribution of the mechanical usage effects. That seems to be the case for many agents and diseases, and several examples are discussed, including postmenopausal osteoporosis, fluoride effects, bone loss in orbit, and osteogenesis imperfecta. The mechanostat proposal is a seminal idea which fits diverse evidence but it requires critique and experimental study.
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            Skeletal structural adaptations to mechanical usage (SATMU): 1. Redefining Wolff's law: the bone modeling problem.

            From the nature of a bone's endload and its local surface strains, the theory computes a modeling operator, Gamma (gamma), that predicts whether mechanical factors will cause lamellar bone modeling drifts, and where and of what kind. A given mechanical bone strain history then provides a separate modeling rate function, M, to specify the rate of such modeling drifts as fractions of the largest possible ones. Multiplying the two functions, e.g., gamma.M, then predicts mechanically controlled bone modeling responses for cortical and trabecular bone, both quantitatively and qualitatively. The theory correctly predicts each of the 6 known "principal adaptations" of lamellar bone, which provide a critical test of any such theory for this organ. The theory accounts for biologic, biomechanical, and clinical-pathologic knowledge not available in Wolff's time nor accounted for by most biomechanicians since. Existing proven methods can provide all numerical data needed to satisfy the theory's mathematical equations and already suggest provisional values for most of them. Its originator views the theory as the kernel of more and better theories to come rather than a finished work, a kernel that suggests a new and in some respects novel logical framework for analysing the problems, and a kernel that invites critique, refinement, and/or exploitation by others.
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              Bone mineral content per muscle cross-sectional area as an index of the functional muscle-bone unit.

              Bone densitometric data often are difficult to interpret in children and adolescents because of large inter- and intraindividual variations in bone size. Here, we propose a functional approach to bone densitometry that addresses two questions: Is bone strength normally adapted to the largest physiological loads, that is, muscle force? Is muscle force adequate for body size? To implement this approach, forearm muscle cross-sectional area (CSA) and bone mineral content (BMC) of the radial diaphysis were measured in 349 healthy subjects from 6 to 19 years of age (183 girls), using peripheral quantitative computed tomography (pQCT). Reference data were established for height-dependent muscle CSA and for the variation with age in the BMC/muscle CSA ratio. These reference data were used to evaluate results from three pediatric patient groups: children who had sustained multiple fractures without adequate trauma (n = 11), children with preterminal chronic renal failure (n = 11), and renal transplant recipients (n = 15). In all three groups mean height, muscle CSA, and BMC were low for age, but muscle CSA was normal for height. In the multiple fracture group and in renal transplant recipients the BMC/muscle CSA ratio was decreased (p <. 0.05), suggesting that bone strength was not adapted adequately to muscle force. In contrast, chronic renal failure patients had a normal BMC/muscle CSA ratio, suggesting that their musculoskeletal system was adapted normally to their (decreased) body size. This functional approach to pediatric bone densitometric data should be adaptable to a variety of densitometric techniques.

                Author and article information

                Horm Res Paediatr
                Hormone Research in Paediatrics
                S. Karger AG
                May 2006
                26 May 2006
                : 65
                : Suppl 2
                : 2-10
                Paediatric Endocrinology and Diabetes, Children’s Hospital, University of Cologne, Cologne, Germany
                91748 Horm Res 2006;65:2–10
                © 2006 S. Karger AG, Basel

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                Page count
                Figures: 7, References: 39, Pages: 9


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