Adipocytokine and ghrelin levels in relation to bone mineral density in prepubertal rhythmic gymnasts entering puberty: a 3-year follow-up study
OBJECTIVE Our aim was to compare physical activity and biochemical markers with bone mineral acquisition in rhythmic gymnasts and ballet dancers. METHODS Weight, height, body mass index, nutritional intake, bone age and menstrual histories were analyzed in nine rhythmic gymnasts, twelve ballet dancers and fourteen controls. Bone mineral density (BMD) was assessed by X-ray absorptiometry at the lumbar spine, hip and radius. Bone alkaline phosphatase (bAP) and amino-terminal propeptide of procollagen I (PNIP) in serum and urinary alpha-isomer of the carboxy-terminal telopeptide of collagen I (alpha-CTX) were measured. RESULTS Bone age was delayed 2 years and mean age at menarche was 15+/-0.9 years in rhythmic gymnasts and 13.7+/-1 years in ballet dancers, compared with 12.5+/-1 years in controls. Trocanteric and femoral neck BMD was significantly higher in rhythmic gymnasts compared with ballet dancers and controls. Right forearm (non-loaded zone) BMD was significantly decreased in rhythmic gymnasts and ballet dancers compared with controls. All subjects had normal bAP and PNIP levels, but the alpha-CTX/creatinine (Cr) ratio was increased in rhythmic gymnasts (P<0.001) with an inverse correlation between right forearm BMD and the alpha-CTX/Cr ratio (r=-0.74, P<0.001). Serum leptin levels were decreased in rhythmic gymnasts and ballet dancers. Rhythmic gymnasts had a positive correlation between right forearm BMD and leptin levels (r=0.85, P<0.001). CONCLUSIONS Decreased bone mass in rhythmic gymnasts could be partially explained by an increase in bone resorption. Serum leptin levels could be implicated in the pubertal delay and be a good marker of bone mass in these subjects.