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Scand J Gastroenterol. 2000 Mar;35(3):274-80.

Three years' follow-up of bone density in adult coeliac disease: significance of secondary hyperparathyroidism.

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Dept. of Health and Environment, Faculty of Health Sciences, Linköping University, Sweden.



The mechanisms of disturbances in bone mineral density (BMD) in coeliac disease are not completely understood. The aim of this prospective study was to investigate the possible significance of secondary hyperparathyroidism (SHPT) with regard to BMD in patients with untreated coeliac disease.


One hundred and five adult patients with untreated coeliac disease were examined for BMD and serum parathyroid hormone (PTH) concentration. BMD in the hip, lumbar spine, and forearm were examined up to 3 years after the introduction of a gluten-free diet.


SHPT was found in 27% (28 of 105) of the patients. In patients with SHPT serum levels of 25-hydroxy-vitamin D were lower and those of alkaline phosphatase higher than in patients with normal PTH, but ionized serum calcium did not differ between the two groups. BMD was more severely reduced in patients with SHPT. Although the BMD increment was more rapid in patients with than in those without SPTH, only in the latter group did mean BMD became normal after 1-3 years on a gluten-free diet (GFD). After 3 years on a GFD more than half of the patients with initial SHPT still had low BMD in both the hip and the forearm. Furthermore, in patients with SHPT the intestinal mucosa more often remained atrophic at the 1-year follow-up, despite good compliance with the diet.


Low BMD in patients with untreated coeliac disease is often associated with SHPT. After 3 years on a GFD the BMD remains low only in patients with initial SHPT. We therefore suggest that PTH should be measured when the diagnosis of coeliac disease is made, as an indicator of more serious intestinal disorder and complicating bone disease.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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