Subclinical hyperthyroidism is known to be associated with the risk of fractures in elderly people. However, there are few studies assessing whether low normal thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) levels affect bone density and geometry. Here, we aimed to assess the influence of the TSH level on bone mineral density (BMD) and geometry in elderly euthyroid subjects. This was a cross-sectional cohort study. A total of 343 men and 674 women with euthyroidism were included and analyzed separately. The subjects were divided into tertiles based on the serum TSH level. The BMD and geometry were measured using dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry and a hip structural analysis program. Multiple regression analysis was used to compute the odds ratios of osteoporosis in the lower TSH tertile group and the association between geometry parameters and the TSH level. We found that the femoral neck and total hip BMDs were lower in the lower TSH tertile group. In women, the cross-sectional area and cortical thickness of the femur were negatively associated with the TSH level in all three regions (the narrow neck, intertrochanter, and femoral shaft): however, in men, these geometry parameters were significantly associated with the TSH level only in the intertrochanter region. The buckling ratio, a bone geometry parameter representing cortical instability, was significantly higher in the lower TSH tertile group in all three regions in women, but not in men. Our results indicated that lower TSH levels in the euthyroid range are related to lower BMD and weaker femoral structure in elderly women.
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