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J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 1990 Feb;70(2):467-72.

Multiple osteocalcin fragments in human urine and serum as detected by a midmolecule osteocalcin radioimmunoassay.

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  • 1Jerry Pettis Veterans Administration Hospital, Loma Linda, California 92357.


Reliable markers of bone formation are essential to the investigation of metabolic bone disorders. In this regard, evidence indicates that circulating levels of human osteocalcin (OC) correlate with the skeletal isoenzyme of alkaline phosphatase and can be used as an index of bone formation. A disadvantage of using serum OC as a marker of formation is its diurnal variation. To address this problem we carried out our studies to determine the usefulness of urine in the assessment of bone turnover. Using a midmolecule specific human OC RIA, we were able to detect OC in urine of normal adults (42 mugeq/g creatinine), normal children (849 mu/geq/g creatinine), and Paget's disease patients (613 mugeq/g creatinine). Immunoreactive fragments of OC in human urine and human serum were separated by high pressure liquid chromatography. Multiple fragments were found in normal adult urine that were not detected in normal adult serum. Uremic and Paget's disease sera contain several immunoreactive forms of OC, other than the intact molecule, not found in normal adult serum. Additionally, both Paget's disease sera and urine contained a specific peak of immunoreactive material, eluting at 25% acetonitrile, that was not found in any other serum or urine tested. Urinary OC (uOC) correlated with both skeletal alkaline phosphatase (r = 0.91) and serum OC (r = 0.83), indices of skeletal formation. While uOC has a diurnal variation similar to that of serum OC, determinations of 24-h uOC give integrated values of daily bone turnover rates. Z-Score analysis indicates that uOC (z = 14.04) is better able to distinguish between normal children with high bone turnover and normal adults than either skeletal alkaline phosphatase (z = 8.87) or serum OC (z = 9.01).

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