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Acta Endocrinol (Copenh). 1991 Apr;124(4):391-8.

Relations between diurnal variations in serum osteocalcin, cortisol, parathyroid hormone, and ionized calcium in normal individuals.

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  • 1University Department of Endocrinology and Metabolism, Aarhus Amtssygehus, Denmark.


Serum osteocalcin varies in a diurnal rhythm, with peak values during the night and minimum levels before noon, but the factors controlling this rhythm are unknown. In this study, we evaluated the temporal relations between the osteocalcin rhythm and variations in serum concentrations of cortisol, intact parathyroid hormone (PTH(1-84)), and ionized calcium (Ca2+) in 15 normal volunteers, aged 22-46 years. Serum cortisol varied in a typical way preceding inverse changes in serum osteocalcin by about 4 h (r = 0.78, p less than 0.0001). Changes in serum osteocalcin following the early morning increase in serum cortisol were statistically indistinguishable from the changes seen after oral administration of 2.5 or 10 mg of prednisone. Serum PTH (1-84) showed a diurnal rhythm (p less than 0.01) with peak values (4.06 +/- 0.42 pmol/l) at 20.30 h and nadir (2.81 +/- 0.10 pmol/l) around 10.30 h, preceding changes in serum osteocalcin in the same direction by 5 h (r = 0.55, p less than 0.02). Prednisone at a dose of 10 mg did not change the time course significantly. Serum Ca2+ varied in an almost bi-phasic pattern (p less than 0.01) with maximal mean levels around 16.30 and 09.30 h and minimal levels around 05.30 and 14.30 h. Serum Ca2+ correlated inversely with PTH (1-84) (r = 0.53, p less than 0.01), and serum osteocalcin was inversely related to Ca2+ at concurrent time points (r = 0.59, p less than 0.005). Prednisone caused a 2-3 h lasting increase in serum Ca2+ 3-5 h after ingestion (p less than 0.001). In conclusion, our results suggest that cortisol is strongly associated to the diurnal rhythm in serum osteocalcin. The biological relevance of the reported relation between serum osteocalcin and PTH (1-84) and serum Ca2+ is uncertain.

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