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Bone. 2000 May;26(5):535-43.

Primary hyperparathyroidism: bone structure, balance, and remodeling before and 3 years after surgical treatment.

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  • 1University Institute of Pathology, Aarhus Kommunehospital, Aarhus, Denmark.


In 19 patients with primary hyperparathyroidism (PHPT) (14 women and 5 men; age 53 +/- 11 years, range 29-69 years), bone densitometry, biochemical markers of bone turnover, and iliac crest bone biopsies were obtained before and 3 years after successful surgical treatment. A significant increase in bone mineral content (BMC) was observed in both the lumbar spine (p < 0.001) and the proximal part of the distal forearm (p < 0.001), whereas the increase in BMC in the femoral neck was insignificant. Biochemical markers of bone formation (serum alkaline phosphatase, serum bone alkaline phosphatase and serum osteocalcin) and resorption (serum pyridinoline cross-linked telopeptide of type I collagen and urine N-telopeptide of type I collagen) all decreased following treatment. In cortical bone, relative cortical width increased following surgery (p < 0.05) and cortical porosity decreased (p < 0.01). No changes were observed in core width or cortical width. In cancellous bone, no significant changes were observed in any of the measured structural parameters. However, significant reductions in the extent of osteoid- (p < 0.01) and tetracycline-labeled surfaces (p < 0.001), and in bone formation rate (p < 0.001) and activation frequency (p < 0.001), were found. The numerical decrease in the extent of eroded surfaces did not reach significance (p = 0.057). No changes were observed in mineral appositional rate and adjusted appositional rate. The amount of bone resorbed (expressed as the resorption depth) and the amount of bone reformed (expressed as wall thickness) per remodeling cycle seemed unaffected by the treatment. Consequently, no effect on bone balance per remodeling cycle could be detected. The present study of PHPT patients showed that, within 3 years after surgery, BMC of both cancellous and cortical bone areas had increased. At the same time, bone turnover decreased markedly, as judged from biochemical as well as histomorphometric data, but no changes were seen in trabecular bone structure. In cortical bone, the relative cortical width increased and the cortical porosity decreased.

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