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J Bone Miner Res. 2010 Dec;25(12):2796-800. doi: 10.1002/jbmr.151.

Glucocorticoids are not always deleterious for bone.

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Department of Endocrinology and Metabolic Diseases, Leiden University Medical Center, Leiden, The Netherlands.

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  • J Bone Miner Res. 2011 Feb;26(2):439.


A 23-year-old man with the rare sclerosing bone disorder van Buchem disease presented with progressively worsening headaches that eventually became persistent and associated with papilledema. Increased intracranial pressure was diagnosed, and the patient had a ventriculoperitoneal drain inserted as well as simultaneously receiving treatment with prednisone. Before starting treatment, there was biochemical evidence for increased bone turnover and for steady increases in bone mineral density (BMD) at the spine and total hip despite the patient having reached his peak height of 197 cm at the age of 19 years. Treatment with prednisone for 2 years resulted in biochemical and histologic suppression of bone formation as well as of bone resorption and arrest of further bone accumulation. Our data suggest that glucocorticoids (GCs) may represent an attractive alternative to the high-risk surgical approaches used in the management of patients with progressive sclerosing bone disorders. Our findings also suggest that whereas sclerostin may not be required for the action of GCs on bone formation, it may well be important for the action of GCs on bone resorption. The exact mechanism by which sclerostin may be involved in the regulation of bone resorption is as yet to be explored.

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