Osteologie 2024; 33(02): 117
DOI: 10.1055/s-0044-1782063
Abstracts
3. Nachwuchsforschungspreissymposium

Osseous Adaptations in High-Performance Athletes

Robert Munzinger
1   Universitätsklinikum Hamburg-Eppendorf, Institut für Osteologie & Biomechanik, Fachbereich Osteologie, Hamburg
,
Felix von Brackel
1   Universitätsklinikum Hamburg-Eppendorf, Institut für Osteologie & Biomechanik, Fachbereich Osteologie, Hamburg
,
Florian Barvencik
1   Universitätsklinikum Hamburg-Eppendorf, Institut für Osteologie & Biomechanik, Fachbereich Osteologie, Hamburg
,
Ralf Oheim
1   Universitätsklinikum Hamburg-Eppendorf, Institut für Osteologie & Biomechanik, Fachbereich Osteologie, Hamburg
,
Michael Amling
1   Universitätsklinikum Hamburg-Eppendorf, Institut für Osteologie & Biomechanik, Fachbereich Osteologie, Hamburg
› Author Affiliations
 

Introduction: The favorable impact of physical exercise on bone health has been well-documented in numerous studies. Furthermore, insights into the mechanisms governing mechanical-stress-induced adaptations have been gained. Yet, a significant knowledge gap remains regarding how bones adapt in structure and metabolism to the rigorous demands and competition-induced stress experienced by competitive high-performance athletes in different disciplines.

Methods: In this study, we sought answers by conducting a comprehensive assessment of bone health in 82 high-performance athletes across various sports disciplines, among which 43 are elite athletes competing at international level. Our evaluation involved serum and urine analyses, dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA), and high-resolution peripheral quantitative computed tomography (HR-pQCT) which was used for further quantitative analysis looking at intramuscular fat and muscle density. The sports disciplines under scrutiny included basketball, soccer, handball, field hockey, sprinting, middle to long-distance running, horseback riding and tennis.

Results: Although our serum analysis revealed no substantial variations in bone turnover parameters, noteworthy disparities emerged in DXA T- and Z-scores and trabecular HR-pQCT parameters (Tb.BV/TV, Tb.vBMD, Tb.N). Particularly endurance runners differed significantly from the other disciplines. In general, we could see a clear trend in BMD, where strength-based athletes (spinal T-score: 1.8±1.1) scored significantly higher (p<0.0001) than endurance-based athletes (spinal T-score: -1.5±1.7). Furthermore, the two groups differed in blood hemoglobin, where the strength athletes showed higher values than the endurance athletes (strength: 14.6±1.2 g/dl; endurance: 13.7±0.3 g/dl; p<0.05).

Discussion: Our findings shed light on the bone adaptations occurring in high-performance competitive athletes. Particularly, endurance athletes with prolonged bone loading are characterized by low bone mineral density. At the same time, they exhibit low hemoglobin levels, which is suboptimal for competition. One of the principal factors contributing to these differences may be relative energy deficiency in sport (RED-S), a condition more prevalent in sports emphasizing a high power-to-weight ratio. Our results underscore the significance of recognizing and addressing factors like RED-S to optimize bone health in endurance elite athletes and provides insights into the intricate interplay between physical demands, competition stress, and bone health, highlighting the need for tailored monitoring and treatment strategies.

Keywords: RED-S, Exercise, Bone Adaptation, Sport, HR-pQCT

Korrespondenzadresse: Robert Munzinger, Universitätsklinikum Hamburg-Eppendorf, Institut für Osteologie & Biomechanik, Fachbereich Osteologie, Lottestraße 59, 22529 Hamburg, Deutschland, E-Mail: r.munzinger@uke.de



Publication History

Article published online:
13 March 2024

© 2024. Thieme. All rights reserved.

Georg Thieme Verlag
Rüdigerstraße 14, 70469 Stuttgart, Germany