Journal of Bone and Mineral Metabolism

, Volume 24, Issue 1, pp 72-78

First online:

Bone mineral density and turnover in patients with acromegaly in relation to sex, disease activity, and gonadal function

  • Marek BolanowskiAffiliated withDepartment of Endocrinology and Diabetology, Wrocław Medical University Email author 
  • , Jacek DaroszewskiAffiliated withDepartment of Endocrinology and Diabetology, Wrocław Medical University
  • , Marek MędraśAffiliated withDepartment of Endocrinology and Diabetology, Wrocław Medical University
  • , Beata Zadrożna-ŚliwkaAffiliated withDepartment of Endocrinology and Diabetology, Wrocław Medical University

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Acromegaly is a rare disease caused by growth hormone (GH) hypersecretion. GH and insulin-like growth factor-I (IGF-I) exert anabolic activity in bones. Nevertheless, bone mineral density (BMD) loss is not uncommon in patients with acromegaly. It is assumed to be due to hypogonadism associated with the acromegaly. The aim of the study was to examine BMD at various skeletal sites and bone turnover and to assess the influence of impaired gonadal function and disease activity on BMD and turnover changes in acromegaly. A total of 62 patients were studied (40 women, 22 men). Among the women, 22 had active disease and 18 were cured; 16 women had normal gonadal function, and 24 were hypogonadal. Altogether, 12 men presented with active acromegaly, and 10 were cured; normal gonadal function was found in 10 men, and hypogonadism was diagnosed in 12 men. Controls were 30 healthy subjects. Densitometry using dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry of the lumbar spine, proximal femur, forearm, and total body was carried out. Bone turnover was studied based on serum osteocalcin, C-terminal collagen type 1 crosslinks, and bone alkaline phosphatase concentration. A disadvantageous effect of acromegaly on bone density was associated with hypogonadism in the distal radius (in women), the proximal femur (in men), and the total body (both sexes). An anabolic effect of GH during active acromegaly was present in the proximal femur only in men. We confirmed increased bone turnover in the presence of acromegaly, and these changes were similar regarding the activity of the disease and the gonadal status.

Key words

acromegaly bone mineral density bone turnover dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) hypogonadism