Does vertebral bone marrow fat content correlate with abdominal adipose tissue, lumbar spine bone mineral density, and blood biomarkers in women with type 2 diabetes mellitus?

Thomas Baum, Samuel P. Yap, Dimitrios C. Karampinos, Lorenzo Nardo, Daniel Kuo, Andrew J. Burghardt, Umesh B. Masharani, Ann V. Schwartz, Xiaojuan Li, Thomas M. Link

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

123 Scopus citations


Purpose: To compare vertebral bone marrow fat content quantified with proton MR spectroscopy ( 1H-MRS) with the volume of abdominal adipose tissue, lumbar spine volumetric bone mineral density (vBMD), and blood biomarkers in postmenopausal women with and without type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). Materials and Methods: Thirteen postmenopausal women with T2DM and 13 age- and body mass index-matched healthy controls were included in this study. All subjects underwent 1H-MRS of L1-L3 to quantify vertebral bone marrow fat content (FC) and unsaturated lipid fraction (ULF). Quantitative computed tomography (QCT) was performed to assess vBMD of L1-L3. The volumes of abdominal subcutaneous/visceral/total adipose tissue were determined from the QCT images and adjusted for abdominal body volume (SAT adj/VAT adj/TAT adj). Fasting blood tests included plasma glucose and HbA1c. Results: Mean FC showed an inverse correlation with vBMD (r = -0.452; P < 0.05) in the whole study population. While mean FC was similar in the diabetic women and healthy controls (69.3 ± 7.5% versus 67.5 ± 6.1%; P > 0.05), mean ULF was significantly lower in the diabetic group (6.7 ± 1.0% versus 7.9 ± 1.6%; P < 0.05). SAT adj and TAT adj correlated significantly with mean FC in the whole study population (r = 0.538 and r = 0.466; P < 0.05). In contrast to the control group, significant correlations of mean FC with VAT adj and HbA1c were observed in the diabetic group (r = 0.642 and r = 0.825; P < 0.05). Conclusion: This study demonstrated that vertebral bone marrow fat content correlates significantly with SAT adj, TAT adj, and lumbar spine vBMD in postmenopausal women with and without T2DM, but with VAT adj and HbA1c only in women with T2DM.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)117-124
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Magnetic Resonance Imaging
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2012
Externally publishedYes



  • abdominal adipose tissue
  • bone mineral density
  • diabetes
  • MR spectroscopy
  • quantitative computed tomography
  • vertebral bone marrow fat

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging

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