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Am J Gastroenterol. 1989 Oct;84(10):1231-4.

Bone involvement in primary hemochromatosis and alcoholic cirrhosis.

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Istituto di Scienze Mediche, Università di Milano, Italy.


Biochemical indexes of bone metabolism, bone mineral density, and histomorphometry were evaluated in 14 male patients with noncholestatic cirrhosis due to primary hemochromatosis (six cases) or to chronic alcohol abuse (eight cases), and in 30 male controls of similar age. Alkaline phosphatase in alcoholic patients was significantly higher than in controls (mean +/- SD 50.4 +/- 33.7 vs 33.0 +/- 7.1 U/L, p less than 0.01), as was urinary hydroxyproline in both hemochromatotics and alcoholics (mean +/- SD, 44.3 +/- 8.4 and 40.4 +/- 16.8, respectively, vs 30.1 +/- 4.5 mg/g, p less than 0.001 and p less than 0.005). Bone mineral density was significantly lower in hemochromatotics than in alcoholics and controls (mean +/- SD, 591 +/- 90 vs 765 +/- 87 and 759 +/- 34 mg/cm2, respectively, p less than 0.005 and p less than 0.001). At bone biopsy, trabecular osteoporosis was observed in two hemochromatotics and four alcoholics, and osteomalacia was seen in another alcoholic. Overall densitometric and histomorphometric findings indicate a derangement of trabecular bone in both alcoholic and hemochromatotic cirrhosis, whereas cortical osteoporosis seems limited to hemochromatotic patients.

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