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Endocr Connect. 2013 Dec 19;3(1):1-10. doi: 10.1530/EC-13-0070. Print 2014.

Predictors of intact and C-terminal fibroblast growth factor 23 in Gambian children.

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Medical Research Council (MRC) Human Nutrition ResearchElsie Widdowson Laboratories, Fulbourn Road, Cambridge CB1 9NL, UK MRC KenebaKeneba, West Kiang, The Gambia.


Elevated C-terminal fibroblast growth factor 23 (C-FGF23) concentrations have been reported in Gambian children with and without putative Ca-deficiency rickets. The aims of this study were to investigate whether i) elevated C-FGF23 concentrations in Gambian children persist long term; ii) they are associated with higher intact FGF23 concentrations (I-FGF23), poor iron status and shorter 25-hydroxyvitamin D half-life (25OHD-t1/2); and iii) the persistence and predictors of elevated FGF23 concentrations differ between children with and without a history of rickets. Children (8-16 years, n=64) with a history of rickets and a C-FGF23 concentration >125 RU/ml (bone deformity (BD), n=20) and local community children with a previously measured elevated C-FGF23 concentration (LC+, n=20) or a previously measured C-FGF23 concentration within the normal range (LC-, n=24) participated. BD children had no remaining signs of bone deformities. C-FGF23 concentration had normalised in BD children, but remained elevated in LC+ children. All the children had I-FGF23 concentration within the normal range, but I-FGF23 concentration was higher and iron status poorer in LC+ children. 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D was the strongest negative predictor of I-FGF23 concentration (R(2)=18%; P=0.0006) and soluble transferrin receptor was the strongest positive predictor of C-FGF23 concentration (R(2)=33%; P≤0.0001). C-FGF23 and I-FGF23 concentrations were poorly correlated with each other (R(2)=5.3%; P=0.07). 25OHD-t1/2 was shorter in BD children than in LC- children (mean (s.d.): 24.5 (6.1) and 31.5 (11.5) days respectively; P=0.05). This study demonstrated that elevated C-FGF23 concentrations normalised over time in Gambian children with a history of rickets but not in local children, suggesting a different aetiology; that children with resolved rickets had a shorter 25OHD-t1/2, suggesting a long-standing increased expenditure of 25OHD, and that iron deficiency is a predictor of elevated C-FGF23 concentrations in both groups of Gambian children.


FGF23; children; iron status; rickets; vitamin D half-life

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