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Calcif Tissue Int. 2001 Sep;69(3):130-7.

Bone resorption in post-menopausal women with normal and low BMD assessed with biochemical markers specific for telopeptide derived degradation products of collagen type I.

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WHO Collaborating Center for Public Health Aspects of Osteoarticular Disorders, Bone and Cartilage Metabolism Unit, University of Li├Ęge, Belgium.


Biochemical markers of bone resorption can be used clinically to predict the risk of osteoporosis-related fractures (prognostic tool) and to assess the response of an osteoporotic patient to an antiresorptive therapy (monitoring tool). Our aim was to assess the ability of four currently marketed biochemical markers of bone resorption, based on the measurement of degradation products from collage type I telopeptides to monitor the elevated resorption associated with menopause. Women (846) were stratified for menopause, age, and bone mineral density and the following markers were measured: urinary cross-linked N-telopeptides of type I collagen (NTx), the levels of breakdown products of type I collagen C-telopeptides in serum (S-CTx), and in urine, by ELISA (U-CTx-E), and RIA (U-CTx-R). Furthermore, the ratio (alpha/beta) between the alphaL form of CTx measured in the CTx RIA and the betaL form measured in the ELISA was calculated. The mean difference was calculated for each marker in women with osteopenia (Op) or osteoporosis (PMO) (WHO definition) compared with healthy premenopausal (Pre) women and postmenopausal (N Post) women with normal bone mass. Serum CTx showed the highest elevation in post- compared with premenopausal women. All marker values were significantly higher in Op and PMO subjects compared with both Pre and to N Post women. Compared with premenopausal values, the largest elevation in both Op and PMO women was observed for serum CTx. Compared with N Post, urine NTx showed the highest increase in OP subjects. The alpha/beta CTx ratio was elevated in post- compared with Pre women, but there was no difference in the ratio among N Post, Op, or PMO women. In conclusion, postmenopausal women showed elevated turnover with all bone resorption markers, but with substantial individual variation in resorption levels. Furthermore, the turnover process in postmenopausal women appears to be quantitatively different from the premenopausal stage, apparent as altered alpha/beta CTx ratios.

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