Determinants of bone strength and quality in diabetes mellitus in humans

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

90 Scopus citations


There is growing evidence that the higher fracture rate observed in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) is associated with normal, or even increased, areal bone mineral density (aBMD) by DXA. This has led to the hypothesis that patients with T2DM may have abnormalities in bone microarchitecture and/or material composition - i.e., key determinants of bone "quality." Consistent with this hypothesis, several studies using high-resolution peripheral quantitative computed tomography (HRpQCT) have demonstrated preserved indices of trabecular microarchitecture but increased cortical porosity in T2DM patients. In addition, a recent study using a novel in vivo microindentation device found an impairment in a measure of bone material properties (bone material strength index, BMSi) in postmenopausal women with longstanding T2DM; notably, the reduction in BMSi was associated with chronic glycemic control, suggesting that the skeleton should be included as another target organ subject to diabetic complications. The underlying pathogenesis of skeletal fragility in T2DM remains to be defined, although high levels of advanced glycation endproducts (AGEs) may play a role. In addition, T2DM is associated with reduced bone turnover, perhaps with an imbalance between bone resorption and bone formation. Although several studies have found increased serum sclerostin levels in patients with T2DM, the role of these increased levels in mediating the observed increases in cortical porosity or reduction in BMSi remains to be defined. Thus, although bone quality appears to be impaired in T2DM, the pathogenesis of these abnormalities and their relationship to the increased fracture risk observed in these patients needs further study.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)28-34
Number of pages7
StatePublished - Jan 1 2016


  • Bone quality
  • Bone strength
  • Diabetes
  • HRpQCT

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Physiology
  • Histology


Dive into the research topics of 'Determinants of bone strength and quality in diabetes mellitus in humans'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this