Hyperglycemia Is Not Associated With Higher Volumetric BMD in a Chinese Health Check-up Cohort

Ling Wang, Kaiping Zhao, Xiaojuan Zha, Limei Ran, Heng Su, Yingying Yang, Qing Shuang, Yandong Liu, Li Xu, Glen M. Blake, Xiaoguang Cheng*, Klaus Engelke, Annegreet Vlug

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    2 Citations (Scopus)


    Background and Purpose: Type 2 diabetes mellitus patients have an increased fracture risk despite having higher areal bone mineral density (aBMD) measured by DXA. This apparent paradox might be explained by the overestimation of BMD by DXA due to the higher fat mass in type 2 diabetes mellitus patients. Volumetric BMD (vBMD) as assessed by quantitative CT (QCT) is not influenced by fat mass. We assessed the association of vBMD and fasting plasma glucose in a large cohort of Chinese subjects and compared the vBMD in healthy and diabetic subjects. In addition, we compared the relation between aBMD, vBMD, glucose and fat mass in a subset of this cohort. Materials and Methods: 10309 participants from the China Biobank project underwent QCT based on chest low dose CT to compute vBMD of L1 and L2 vertebrae and FPG measurements between 2018 and 2019. Among them, 1037 subjects also had spine DXA scans. Data was analyzed using linear regression models. Results: In the total cohort (5889 men and 4420 women, mean age 53 years, range 30-96), there was no significant association between vBMD and FPG after adjustment for age (women: p=0.774; men: p=0.149). 291 women and 606 men fitted the diagnostic criteria of diabetes. Both women and men with diabetes had lower vBMD compared to non-diabetic subjects, but this became non-significant after adjusting for age in the total cohort (women: p=0.817; men: p=0.288) and after propensity score matching based on age (women: p=0.678; men: p=0.135). In the DXA subcohort, aBMD was significantly higher in men with diabetes after adjusting for age and this difference disappeared after further adjusting for total fat area (p=0.064). Conclusion: We did not find any effect of fasting plasma glucose or diabetes on the volumetric BMD measured with QCT after adjustment for age. Therefore, vBMD measured with QCT might be a more reliable measurement to diagnose osteoporosis and assess fracture risk than aBMD measured with DXA in diabetic patients.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number794066
    JournalFrontiers in Endocrinology
    Early online date3 Jan 2022
    Publication statusPublished - 3 Jan 2022


    • areal bone mineral density (aBMD)
    • fasting plasma glucose (FPG)
    • osteoporosis
    • type 2 diabetes
    • volumetric bone mineral density (vBMD)


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