Radiographic Emphysema, Circulating Bone Biomarkers, and Progressive Bone Mineral Density Loss in Smokers

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Abstract

Rationale:

Osteoporosis is common in individuals with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Lung-specific factors, including radiographic emphysema, independently associate with low bone mineral density in cross-sectional smoking cohorts. However, factors associated with progressive bone loss in smokers are understudied and largely unknown.

Objectives:

To determine the relationship between radiographic emphysema, circulating bone metabolism markers, and pulmonary function and accelerated bone mineral density loss in smokers.

Methods:

Two hundred and forty male and female current and former smokers, 40 years of age or older, underwent baseline and 2-year assessments of pulmonary function, computed tomography-assessed emphysema, dual X-ray absorptiometry-measured bone mineral density, and circulating bone metabolism biomarker levels (type I collagen C-telopeptide [CTX], amino-terminal propeptide of type I procollagen [P1NP]). The association of radiographic emphysema, bone metabolism biomarker levels, and pulmonary function with accelerated hip bone mineral density loss, defined by the 75th percentile of annual hip bone mineral density decline, was determined by logistic regression modeling with adjustment for age, sex, inhaled and intermittent steroid use, active smoking, body mass index, and the presence of baseline low hip bone mineral density.

Results:

Of those participants with accelerated hip bone mineral density loss, 22% had moderate or severe visually assessed emphysema compared with 7.2% of smokers without accelerated bone mineral density decline. Moderate to severe visually assessed emphysema (odds ratio, 2.84; 95% confidence interval, 1.01-7.98 compared with trace/mild or no visually assessed emphysema) and the 75th percentile of CTX levels (odds ratio, 2.38; 95% confidence interval, 1.20-4.72 compared with CTX levels below the 75th percentile), a marker of bone resorption, were associated with accelerated hip bone mineral density decline after adjustment for covariates and the presence of baseline low hip bone mineral density. FEV1% predicted was not associated with accelerated bone mineral density decline after adjustment for covariates. Multivariate modeling showed moderate to severe visually assessed emphysema, and the 75th percentiles of CTX were independently associated with accelerated hip bone mineral density decline after adjustment for covariates.

Conclusions:

Emphysema and elevated markers of bone resorption are independently associated with progressive bone mineral density loss in smokers. These clinical markers may guide targeted bone mineral density screening and monitoring in smokers at highest risk.

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