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J Bone Joint Surg Br. 1993 Mar;75(2):288-92.

Plasma bone-specific alkaline phosphatase as an indicator of osteoblastic activity.

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Department of Orthopaedics and Traumatology, Prince of Wales Hospital, Shatin, New Territories, Hong Kong.


The total plasma alkaline phosphatase level has long been recognised as an indicator of osteoblastic activity, but lack of specificity makes it an insensitive index of the progress of disease and the response to treatment. Selective precipitation by wheatgerm lectin allows measurement of the plasma bone-specific alkaline phosphatase. We measured the plasma levels of this isoenzyme in 170 normal Chinese adolescents and adults, in 49 adults with fractures of a long bone, in 15 patients with osteosarcoma and in 38 patients with osteolytic metastases. The enzyme activity was also determined in 39 patients with liver disease. Of the patients with fractures, 94% had increased plasma activity during the healing process. The level was also increased in those with osteosarcoma but not in those with osteolytic bone metastases. There was no significant increase in activity in the patients with liver disease. We conclude that the plasma bone-specific alkaline phosphatase activity is a sensitive and reliable measure of osteoblastic activity.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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