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Osteoporos Int. 2010 Apr;21(4):695-700. doi: 10.1007/s00198-009-0959-1. Epub 2009 May 13.

Vitamin D status and parathyroid hormone relationship in adolescents and its association with bone health parameters: analysis of the Northern Ireland Young Heart's Project.

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  • 1Department of Food and Nutritional Sciences, University College, Cork, Ireland. t.hill@ucc.ie


In girls, a plateau in parathyroid hormone (PTH) was observed at a 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D) concentration of approximately 60 nmol/l. In boys, there was no plateau in PTH concentrations as 25(OH)D concentration increased. A 25(OH)D threshold of 60 nmol/l appears to have implications for bone health outcomes in both girls and boys.


Our objective was to investigate if there is a threshold 25(OH)D concentration where a plateau in PTH concentration is evident and to examine the impact of this relationship on bone mineral density (BMD) and bone turnover in a representative sample of adolescents.


We conducted a cross-sectional analysis among 1,015 Northern Irish adolescents aged 12 and 15 years. Serum 25(OH)D, PTH, osteocalcin, type 1 collagen cross-linked C-telopeptide (CTx), and BMD of the nondominant forearm and heel were measured. Nonlinear regression analysis was used to model the association between 25(OH)D and PTH.


In girls, a plateau in PTH was observed at a 25(OH)D concentration of approximately 60 nmol/l (PTH = 47.146 + 370.314 x exp((-0.092 x 25(OH)D))) while no plateau in PTH was observed in boys (PTH = 42.144 + 56.366 x exp((-0.022 x 25(OH)D))). Subjects with 25(OH)D levels <60 nmol/l had significantly higher osteocalcin concentrations (P < 0.05) compared with those who had >or=60 nmol/l, while no significant (P > 0.05) differences were noted for CTx concentrations. In girls only, nondominant forearm BMD but not heel BMD was significantly higher (P = 0.046) in those with 25(OH)D concentrations >or= 60 nmol/l.


Serum 25(OH)D levels above 60 nmol/l in Northern Irish adolescent girls prevent an increase in serum PTH levels and maintaining 25(OH)D >60 nmol/l in both girls and boys may lead to improved bone health outcomes.

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