HIV-infected postmenopausal women at high risk for bone fractures

January 5, 2010

According to a new study accepted for publication in The Endocrine Society's Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism (JCEM), postmenopausal HIV-infected women have a high prevalence of low bone mineral density and high bone turnover placing them at high risk for future bone fractures.

"As HIV-infected individuals live longer with potent antiretroviral therapy (ART), metabolic complications such as low density and osteoporosis are increasingly recognized," said Michael Yin, MD of Columbia University Medical Center in New York and lead author of the study. "Although numbers of HIV-infected are increasing and postmenopausal women are at highest risk for osteoporotic fractures, few studies have evaluated skeletal status in this group. We hypothesized that postmenopausal women might be particularly vulnerable to the adverse effects of HIV infection or ART on the skeleton and our results indicate that this may indeed be the case."

To test their hypothesis, Yin and his colleagues initiated a longitudinal study to assess bone health in 92 HIV-positive and 95 HIV-negative postmenopausal women. Bone mineral density of the lumbar spine, femoral neck and hip as well as body composition were measured by dual x-ray absorptiometry (DXA). Researchers found that HIV-positive postmenopausal women had lower bone mineral density at both the spine and hip than HIV-negative postmenopausal women.

"HIV infection was independently associated with lower after adjusting for body mass index (BMI) and traditional osteoporosis risk factors," said Yin. "While the reason for HIV-associated bone loss remains unclear, it may be related to increased levels of cytokines (proteins produced by cells that aid communication between cells), direct effects of antiretrovirals on bone cells or hormonal/nutritional deficiencies that are common in HIV."

"Estrogen protects against the effect of cytokines on bone resorption," said Yin. "Therefore, as HIV-positive women become estrogen deficient during menopause, they may be at higher risk for accelerated bone loss and fracture."

Explore further: Epilepsy drug causes bone loss in young women

More information: The article, "Low bone mass and high bone turnover in postmenopausal HIV-infected women," will appear in the February 2010 issue of JCEM.

Related Stories

Epilepsy drug causes bone loss in young women

April 28, 2008

Young women who took the commonly used epilepsy drug phenytoin for one year showed significant bone loss compared to women taking other epilepsy drugs, according to a study published in the April 29, 2008, issue of Neurology, ...

Hip Bone Density Helps Predict Breast Cancer Risk

July 25, 2008

Measuring a woman’s bone mineral density can provide additional information that may help more accurately determine a woman’s risk of developing breast cancer. That is the conclusion of a new study published in the September ...

HIV patients at greater risk for bone fractures

August 28, 2008

HIV-infected patients have a higher prevalence of fractures than non HIV-infected patients, across both genders and critical fracture sites according to a new study accepted for publication in The Endocrine Society's Journal ...

Recommended for you

How the finch changes its tune

August 3, 2015

Like top musicians, songbirds train from a young age to weed out errors and trim variability from their songs, ultimately becoming consistent and reliable performers. But as with human musicians, even the best are not machines. ...

Machine Translates Thoughts into Speech in Real Time

December 21, 2009

( -- By implanting an electrode into the brain of a person with locked-in syndrome, scientists have demonstrated how to wirelessly transmit neural signals to a speech synthesizer. The "thought-to-speech" process ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.