Role of bone mineral density in the inverse relationship between body size and aortic calcification: Results from the Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging

M. Canepa, P. Ameri, M. AlGhatrif, G. Pestelli, Y. Milaneschi, J.B. Strait, F. Giallauria, G. Ghigliotti, C. Brunelli, E.G. Lakatta, L. Ferrucci

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Objective: There is a J-shaped relationship between body mass index (BMI) and cardiovascular outcomes in elderly patients (obesity paradox). Whether low BMI correlates with aortic calcification (AC) and whether this association is accounted for by bone demineralization is uncertain. Methods: Presence of AC was evaluated in 687 community-dwelling individuals (49% male, mean age 67±13 years) using CT images of the thoracic, upper and lower abdominal aorta, and scored from 0 to 3 according to number of sites that showed any calcification. Whole-body bone mineral density (BMD) was evaluated by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry. Predictors of AC were assessed by logistic regression, and the role of BMD using mediation analysis. Results: Age and cardiovascular risk factors were positively associated while both BMI (r=-0.11, p<0.01) and BMD (r=-0.17, p<0.0001) were negatively associated with AC severity. In multivariate models, lower BMI (OR 0.96, 95%CI 0.92-0.99, p=0.01), older age, higher systolic blood pressure, use of lipid-lowering drugs and smoking were independent predictors of AC. A nonlinear relationship between BMI and AC was noticed (p=0.03), with decreased AC severity among overweight participants. After adjusting for BMD, the coefficient relating BMI to AC was reduced by 14% and was no longer significant, whereas BMD remained negatively associated with AC (OR 0.82, 95%CI 0.069-0.96, p=0.01), with a trend for a stronger relationship in older participants. Conclusion: Low BMI is associated with increased AC, possibly through calcium mobilization from bone, resulting in low BMD. Prevention of weight loss and bone demineralization with aging may help reducing AC. © 2014.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)169-175
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2014

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