Platelet activation linked to osteoporosis

By Andrew Czyzewski

Elderly, postmenopausal women with osteoporosis have elevated platelet volumes, report researchers.

The finding adds to a growing body of evidence supporting the theory that "chronic inflammation may be a common mechanism for the development of osteoporosis and atherosclerosis," say Rui-tao Wang (Harbin Medical University, Heilongjiang, China) and colleagues.

Mean platelet volume (MPV) is an early marker of platelet activation, which is involved in the pathophysiology of coronary heart disease. There is also evidence to suggest that platelets play a critical role in bone remodeling.

"However, little research has been conducted to investigate the relationship between MPV and osteoporosis," Wang et al comment in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research.

They therefore performed a cross-sectional study to investigate the relationship between platelet count, MPV, and bone mineral density (BMD) in 410 hospitalized postmenopausal Chinese women.

Biochemical parameters, platelet count, and MPV were determined from fasting blood samples and BMD was measured using dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry.

Diagnostic classification was based on World Health Organization criteria where a BMD T-score of -1.0 was defined as normal (n=128); between -2.5 and -1.0 as osteopenia (n=171); and -2.5 or lower as osteoporosis (n=111).

Wang et al found that MPV increased across the respective diagnostic groups from 9.6 femtoliters (fL) to 10.6 fL and 11.0 fL.

They also observed a trend for decreasing BMD with increasing age, systolic blood pressure, total cholesterol, triglycerides, low density lipoprotein cholesterol, fasting plasma glucose, and MPV.

Multivariate analysis confirmed a significant negative correlation between MPV and BMD at both the lumbar spine (L2-L4) and femoral neck.

Wang et al note proinflammatory cytokines such as tumor necrosis factor-alpha and interleukin-6 are involved in both platelet activation and promotion of osteoclast formation and bone resorption.

They conclude: "MPV is a simple index of activated platelet and available with routine blood counts.

"Further studies on the involvement of MPV in osteoporosis may contribute to the evaluation of thrombotic risk in elderly patients with osteoporosis."

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