Open Access Research article

The association between lean mass and bone mineral content in the high disease activity group of adult patients with juvenile idiopathic arthritis

Kristyna Brabnikova Maresova12*, Katerina Jarosova12, Karel Pavelka12 and Jan J Stepan12

Author Affiliations

1 Institute of Rheumatology, Na Slupi 4, 128 50 Prague, Czech Republic

2 First Faculty of Medicine, Charles University in Prague, Prague, Czech Republic

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BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders 2014, 15:51  doi:10.1186/1471-2474-15-51

Published: 21 February 2014



The study is aimed to evaluate body composition and bone status in adolescent and adult patients with active juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) untreated with tumor necrosis factor alpha inhibitors.


Adult patients (12 male and 19 female) with active JIA and 84 healthy age- and gender- matched controls were enrolled into the study. Body composition (tissue mass in grams, lean mass, fat mass and bone mineral content as a fraction of tissue mass) and areal bone mineral density parameters (aBMD) at the lumbar spine, proximal femur, femoral neck, distal radius and total body were assessed using dual energy x-ray absorptiometry (DXA), and correlated with clinical characteristics of the disease and physical performance tests. Disease activity was assessed using high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hsCRP) and disease activity score 28 (DAS 28). Differences between the groups were tested by t-test, and One-way ANOVA. Correlations were assessed using the Pearson correlation coefficients and multiple linear regression analysis. Significances were counted at the 0.05 level.


In patients with clinically active JIA (DAS 28, 6.36 ± 0.64, hsCRP, 18.36 ± 16.95 mg/l), aBMD at all measured sites, bone mineral content (BMC) and lean mass were reduced, and fat mass was increased as compared with healthy controls. Significant negative correlations were observed between BMC and disease duration, use of glucocorticoids (GCs), and fat mass, respectively. A positive correlation was found between BMC and lean mass, and between the body fat fraction and the use of GCs. Using multiple linear regression analysis, lean mass was the only significant predictor of BMC of total body both in men and women, and of BMC of legs (only in men). Lean mass was also the only predicting factor of total proximal femur BMD and femoral neck BMD. No significant correlations have been determined among the body composition parameters and DAS 28 or hsCRP endpoints.


In adult patients with long-term active JIA, lean mass was the main determining factor of total body and leg BMC, and total proximal femur and femoral neck aBMD.

JIA in adults; Disease activity; DAS 28; Body composition; Lean mass; Bone mineral density; Bone mineral content; Glucocorticoids