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Br J Rheumatol. 1996 Mar;35(3):244-7.

Trabecular and cortical bone loss in systemic lupus erythematosus.

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Department of Rheumatology, St-Luc University Hospital, Louvain University in Brussels, Belgium.


We measured lumbar spine, hip (total and sub-regions) and total body bone mineral densities (BMDs) by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) in 47 premenopausal female patients suffering from systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). As compared to health controls, SLE patients had lower BMDs at all trabecular and cortical sites. Comparison of BMDs between patients ever and never treated with glucocorticoids indicated that patients who had ever received glucocorticoids had a significantly lower lumbar spine BMD compared to those who never did. Moreover, bone loss in patients ever treated with glucocorticoids was commensurate with their cumulated oral glucocorticoid intake. Interestingly, patients never treated with glucocorticoids had a lower hip BMD compared to controls, thereby suggesting that the disease per se might induce some bone loss. Taken together, SLE patients suffer from a significant trabecular and cortical bone loss indicative of an increased risk of future fracture.

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