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Clin J Am Soc Nephrol. 2006 Nov;1(6):1300-13. Epub 2006 Aug 23.

Bone disease after renal transplantation.

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Division of Nephrology, Hospital Universitario de Caracas, Universidad Central de Venezuela, Caracas, Venezuela.


It has been well established that a rapid decrease in bone mineral density (BMD) occurs in the first 6 to 12 mo after a successful renal transplantation and persists, albeit at a lower rate, for many years. This rapid BMD loss significantly increases the fracture risk of these patients to levels that are even higher than those of patients who have chronic kidney disease stage 5 and are on dialysis. The presence of low BMD in renal transplant patients as a predictor of risk fracture is controversial. Indeed, as has been suggested also for patients with postmenopausal osteoporosis, there is not a compelling correlation between the decline in BMD and skeletal fractures. However, bone disease after renal transplantation probably represents a unique bone disorder that must encompass underlying renal osteodystrophy. In fact, this syndrome results from multiple factors that include pretransplantation bone status, use of glucocorticoids and other immunosuppressive drugs, hypophosphatemia, and alterations of the calcium-vitamin D axis. Recent studies have demonstrated decreased osteoblast number, reduced bone formation rate, delayed mineralization, and increased osteoblast and osteocyte apoptosis. Bisphosphonates and vitamin D metabolites may be valuable in preventing or diminishing early bone loss. However, clinicians should be careful with the use of bisphosphonates and oversuppression of bone, especially in patients with low bone turnover. New prospective, controlled trials are required to confirm the real efficacy of these drugs, particularly in long-term renal transplant patients.

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