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J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 1993 Apr;76(4):861-6.

Turner syndrome adolescents receiving growth hormone are not osteopenic.

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  • 1Department of Pediatrics, Stanford University Medical Center, California 94305.


Deficits in bone mineral have been widely reported in Turner syndrome. The bone mineral status of 19 adolescents with Turner syndrome (16 receiving GH therapy) was evaluated by dual photon absorptiometry of the lumbar spine and whole body and compared with a normal female control group (n = 45) with the same mean age (14.3 yr). The conventional measurements of bone mass, bone mineral content (BMC = g), and bone mineral density (BMD = g/cm2), as well as bone mineral apparent density (BMAD = g/cm3), an expression of bone mineral adjusted for bone volume, were determined for both sites. Although mean BMC was decreased in Turner females, mean BMD and BMAD in the two groups were not significantly different. Analyzed in relation to chronologic age, bone age, height, and pubertal status, mean BMD and BMAD values in Turner subjects were equal to or greater than that of controls. BMD and BMAD were elevated in the Turner group vs. controls matched for height. In subjects with bone age less than or equal to 12.5 yr, mean spinal BMAD was unexpectedly greater in Turner patients compared with controls (0.148 +/- 0.011 vs. 0.134 +/- 0.013, P = 0.009). When data were analyzed by pubertal status, mean spinal BMD and BMAD in subjects with Tanner breast stages 1-2 were higher in the Turner group than in the controls (BMAD 0.146 +/- 0.011 vs. 0.132 +/- 0.015, P = 0.015). No differences were seen in mid- to late pubertal females. Bone mineral properties were additionally reassessed after a mean interval of 1.3 yr in 10 of the subjects with Turner syndrome. Percentage increases in mean follow-up spinal BMD and BMAD were greater in 5 subjects begun on estrogen replacement than in 5 untreated patients. We conclude that: 1) bone mineral values in adolescents with Turner syndrome on GH therapy are not abnormal, 2) lumbar bone mineral is greater in younger Turner adolescents matched with controls for bone age or pubertal status, a difference which could relate to GH therapy, and 3) estrogen therapy may augment bone mineral accretion in Turner syndrome, but early estrogen replacement cannot be justified on the basis of bone mineral status.

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