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15-07-2009 | Bone health | Article

Estradiol, testosterone levels alter fracture risk


Free abstract

MedWire News: Endogenous sex hormone levels have a significant impact on bone health in young and middle-aged individuals, study findings indicate.

The results showed that the likelihood of fracture was inversely associated with estradiol levels in men, and with testosterone levels among premenopaual women, report Andrew Roddam (University of Oxford, UK) and co-workers.

However, there was no clear association for fracture risk and sex hormones among postmenopausal women.

The researchers examined the relationship between fracture risk and hormone levels using data from 155 men (average baseline age 50.9 years), 46 premenopausal (average baseline age 35.0 years), and 235 postmenopausal women (average baseline age 62 years) with a history of fracture within 6 years of enrolling into the Oxford-EPIC study, and from 868 matched controls.

As reported in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Metabolism, the risk for fracture in men was inversely associated with plasma estradiol (relative risk [RR]=0.35 for doubling of levels), but no association was found with testosterone.

The opposite relationship was found for premenopausal women, where fracture risk was inversely associated with testosterone (RR=0.46 for doubling) but not with estradiol.

For postmenopausal women, there was no clear association between sex hormones and fracture risk. However, a trend was detected for an inverse association with fracture risk for women in the highest versus lowest tertiles for both estradiol and testosterone levels (RR=0.74 and 0.75, respectively).

“Although there are clear relationships between endogenous estrogen and androgen levels and bone strength, the risk of fracture depends upon the combined effects of bone strength and force of impact,” Roddam et al write.

“There is some evidence of an association between endogenous hormones, particularly low testosterone levels, and risk of falls,” they add, noting that they were unable to determine the effect of endogenous hormones on occurrence of falls as data were only collected for fractures.

MedWire ( is an independent clinical news service provided by Current Medicine Group, a part of Springer Science+Business Media. © Current Medicine Group Ltd; 2009

By Lynda Williams

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