Osteopenia in anorexia nervosa: specific mechanisms of bone loss.
Department of General Psychiatry, University Hospital of Psychiatry, Vienna, Austria.
Osteopenia is a well recognized medical complication of anorexia nervosa (AN).
The mechanism of bone loss is not fully understood and there is uncertainty about its management.
New markers of bone turnover have been developed.
C-terminal type 1 propeptide (PICP) is a measure of bone formation and urinary pyridinolines such as deoxypyridinoline (DPYRX) and serum carboxyterminal crosslinked telopeptide (ICTP) are markers of bone resorption.
The aim of this study was to examine these bone markers in patients with AN. Twenty female patients with AN and 12 healthy controls were included in the study.
Bone mineral density (BMD) of AN patients was measured by dual energy X-ray absorptiometry (DEXA).
Lumbar bone density was significantly reduced in the AN group compared to standardised values of thirty year old adults (t-score 83.2%, S.D. 12.1). Femoral neck bone density showed an even greater reduction (t-score 79.4%, S.D. 13.5).
We found a significant negative correlation between femoral BMD and the duration of the illness.
Femoral BMD correlated significantly with minimal body weight (r(16) = 0.504, p = 0.033).
The markers of bone resorption were significantly higher in the patients with AN compared to the values of the control group (ICTP t(30) = -2.15, p = 0.04, DPYRX t(25) = -2.26, p = 0.033), whereas the markers of bone formation did not differ significantly between the groups.
AN appears to be a low turn over state associated with increased bone resorption without concomitant bone formation.
This pattern differs from osteopenia in menopausal women and should, therefore, lead to the development of specific therapeutic strategies in AN associated osteopenia.
Hormone replacement therapy as well as calcium and vitamine D-supplementation are so far discussed controversially.
Long-term treatment studies are warranted.
- [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]