High‐resolution peripheral quantitative computed tomography (HR‐pQCT) is an advanced 3D imaging technology that has the potential to contribute to fracture risk assessment and early diagnosis of osteoporosis. However, to date no studies have sought to establish normative reference ranges for HR‐pQCT measures among individuals from the Chinese mainland, significantly restricting its use. In this study, we collected HR‐pQCT scans from 863 healthy Chinese men and women aged 20 to 80 years using the latest‐generation scanner (Scanco XtremeCT II, Scanco Medical AG, Brüttisellen, Switzerland). Parameters including volumetric bone mineral density, bone geometry, bone microarchitecture, and bone strength were evaluated. Age‐, site‐, and sex‐specific centile curves were established using generalized additive models for location, scale, and shape with age as the only explanatory variable. Based on established models, age‐related variations for different parameters were also quantified. For clinical purposes, the expected values of HR‐pQCT parameters for a defined age and a defined percentile or Z‐score were provided. We found that the majority of trabecular and bone strength parameters reached their peak at 20 years of age, regardless of sex and site, then declined steadily thereafter. However, most of the cortical bone loss was observed after the age of 50 years. Among the measures, cortical porosity changed most dramatically, and overall, changes were more notable at the radius than the tibia and among women compared with men. Establishing such normative HR‐pQCT reference data will provide an important basis for clinical and research applications in mainland China aimed at elucidating microstructural bone damage driven by different disease states or nutritional status.
HR‐pQCT; MICROARCHITECTURE; REFERENCE CENTILE CURVES; OSTEOPOROSIS; BONE STRENGTH