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Int J Adolesc Med Health. 2002 Jul-Sep;14(3):235-44.

Osteocalcin. A biochemical marker of bone turnover during puberty.

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Adolescent Unit, Department of Pediatrics, University of Hacettepe Medical School, Pediatrics, Ankara, Turkey.


During bone remodelling, osteocalcin is produced by osteoblasts and its level increases during the events characterized by rapid bone turnover. Osteocalcin is a bone matrix protein, which is specific for bone metabolism and it is not influenced by metabolic bone disorders. Osteocalcin is an important marker of bone turnover in physiological and pathological conditions. Physiologically, serum osteocalcin was increased in children, particularly during the first year of life and during puberty, when evolution of the concentration was related to rapidity of physical growth. Evidence of a correlation with growth rates comes from the observation that serum osteocalcin levels parallel the height velocity curve, with higher values in childhood and during adolescence, that later fall to adult values. There are previous studies reporting that there is age- and sex-dependent change in serum osteocalcin levels in children and adolescents with a pattern resembling height velocity curves for children and serum osteocalcin elevation coincides with the pubertal growth spurt. These findings demonstrate that pubertal development and sex should be taken into account rather than chronological age when serum levels of osteocalcin are evaluated. In most of the studies relationships among osteocalcin and chronological age and bone age, but not pubertal developmental stage (sexual maturation stage) were investigated. The aim of our study was to determine whether osteocalcin is a useful marker for the pubertal growth spurt period. In this study, osteocalcin levels in male adolescents were examined in relation to their sexual maturation stage and age. According to our findings, the follow up of osteocalcin levels in relation to sexual maturation stages could be a new method to determine the phase of the pubertal growth spurt. An increase or decrease in osteocalcin levels on consecutive measurements may indicate the child's entering accelerated or decelerated stages of the growth spurt, respectively. We emphasize that the follow up of adolescent growth is made by determination of the sexual maturation stage, and not by age. Osteocalcin is a highly specific, reliable and useful marker for evaluation of the growth spurt and is not influenced by nonosseous disorders.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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