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Calcif Tissue Int. 1996 Nov;59(5):334-8.

Clinical observations with a new specific assay for bone alkaline phosphatase: a cross-sectional study in osteoporotic and pagetic subjects and a longitudinal evaluation of the response to ovariectomy, estrogens, and bisphosphonates.

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Istituto di Clinica Medica e Terapia Medica, University of Parma, Via Gramsci, 14, I-43100 Parma, Italy.


The purpose of this study was to examine the serum levels of bone alkaline phosphatase (BALP) measured with a new assay in normal and in osteoporotic women, and to evaluate prospectively its responsiveness to changes of bone metabolism. The following groups of subjects were studied: (1) 95 healthy women (44-75 years) (22 pre- and 73 postmenopausal) and 35 osteoporotic women [vertebral bone mineral density (BMD) more than 2.5 SD below the normal adult mean]; (2) 10 women (44-50 years) ovariectomized (OVX) for benign uterine diseases, examined before and 12 months after surgery; (3) 16 OVX women (36-54 years), examined before and after 12 months of transdermal estrogen replacement therapy (50 microg/day); (4) 12 previously untreated pagetic patients (4 women and 8 men, 50-80 years), examined before and 3 months after the I.V. administration of clodronate (600 mg) or alendronate (5 mg) for 2 consecutive days. The median BALP value was 11.6 U/liter (25-75th percentiles: 10.5-12. 7; range 7.7-19.3) in healthy premenopausal (PreMP) women and significantly higher (median: 16.8 U/liter; 25-75th percentile: 13. 8-21.8; P < 0.01) in postmenopausal (PostMP) women. There was a clear age-related increase in normal subjects (r = 0.43; P < 0.001). In the osteoporotic group, BALP levels, as well as other biochemical parameters of bone turnover, were not significantly different from those of normal women when adjusted for age. In OVX women, BALP levels showed a marked increase 12 months after surgery (median: 113%; 25-75th percentile: 87-139%), significantly higher than the increase of total ALP (median: 43%; 25-75th percentile: 25-66%; P < 0.001), and similar to the increases of serum osteocalcin and urinary hydroxyproline. Transdermal estrogen treatment prevented the BALP increase, even if no reduction was observed; total ALP showed a similar behavior. The basal levels of BALP were significantly elevated in pagetic patients (median: 91 U/liter; range 18-610 U/liter) and correlated to the scintigraphic extent of the disease (r = 0.76; P < 0.01). Three months after the I.V. administration of bisphosphonates, the decrease of BALP was more marked than that of total ALP (median: -54% versus -41%; P < 0.05). In conclusion, these results suggest that BALP measurement with this immunoassay may be clinically useful, and more sensitive than total ALP, in the assessment of bone turnover during changes of the estrogen status as well as in monitoring the effects of treatments that modify the metabolic activity of the skeleton.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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