Ruoyu Li, Wei Zhang, Yafei Xu, Lei Ma, Zhaohui Li, Dalong Yang, Wenyuan Ding

July 2022, pp 1 - 8 Original Article Read Full Article 10.1007/s00586-022-07329-1

First Online: 26 July 2022


Evidence has shown that lumbar vertebral endplate defects are clinically relevant and closely related to disc degeneration, but the relationship between endplate defects and bone mineral density (BMD) remains unclear. This study aimed to explore the association between endplate defects and BMD-related values in patients with lumbar degenerative disc disease (LDD).


Three hundred and twenty-five Chinese adult subjects diagnosed with LDD underwent dual energy X-ray absorptiometry. Endplate defects were classified using lumbar MRI. Groups were subdivided based on the occurrence rates of defect endplates. BMD at the lumbar vertebral and bilateral femur necks was compared between groups, and the association between endplate defects and lumbar BMD-related values was analyzed and adjusted for confounders including age, sex, serum levels of 25-hydroxy vitamin D (25(OH)D), calcium (Ca) and phosphorus (P).


Of 325 patients and 3250 endplates, 59.72% had defects, and 188 patients were divided into the higher defect rate group (occurrence rate > 50%). The higher defect rate group was associated with older age, more common postmenopausal females, higher osteoporosis rates and lower serum Ca and P levels. Lumbar BMD was greater than that at bilateral femur necks and was not equal to osteoporosis diagnosis. Endplate defects were more prevalent in lower segments. The occurrence of endplate defects was positively associated with lumbar BMD-related values in the partial correlation analysis. The association between endplate defects and lumbar BMD varies for subtypes and segments, with a trend of positive association in rim and erosive subtypes after adjusting for confounders.


The present study demonstrated that the occurrence of endplate defects was associated with greater lumbar BMD values in patients with LDD. This association varies for different defect subtypes and segments. The results indicated that endplate defects should be taken into consideration in osteoporosis treatment to alleviate disc degeneration.

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