Original Article

Journal of Bone and Mineral Metabolism

, Volume 28, Issue 4, pp 456-467

First online:

Cortical and trabecular bone microarchitecture and turnover in alcohol-induced chronic pancreatitis: a histomorphometric study

  • Christine M. SchnitzlerAffiliated withMRC Mineral Metabolism Research Unit, University of the Witwatersrand Email author 
  • , Julia M. MesquitaAffiliated withMRC Mineral Metabolism Research Unit, University of the WitwatersrandDivision of Orthopaedic Surgery, University of the Witwatersrand
  • , Roy ShiresAffiliated withDepartment of Internal Medicine, Chris Hani-Baragwanath Hospital, University of the Witwatersrand

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Alcohol-induced chronic pancreatitis is associated with bone loss, but bone histomorphometric data describing the mechanism of cortical (Ct) and trabecular (Tb) bone loss are scarce. In this case-control study, we investigated 13 black male patients aged 41.2 ± 8.9 years with alcohol-induced chronic pancreatitis by routine iliac crest cortical and trabecular histomorphometry and by biochemistry relevant to bone, liver function, and iron overload. Patients showed lower values for Ct thickness (P = 0.018), endocortical (Ec) wall thickness (P = 0.0002), Tb bone volume (0.019), Tb thickness (0.001), Tb wall thickness (P < 0.0001), Ec osteoid thickness (P = 0.001), Ec mineral apposition rate (P = 0.011), and Ec bone formation rate (P = 0.035). Ec eroded surface (P = 0.004) was elevated compared to controls. Tb osteoid thickness (P = 0.14) and Tb mineral apposition rate (P = 0.195) tended to be lower than in controls. Levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D (P < 0.005), serum magnesium (P = 0.02), and ascorbic acid (P = 0.049) were lower and urine calcium/creatinine ratios higher than in controls. Alkaline phosphatase and gamma-glutamyl transpeptidase (GGT) were negatively correlated but iron markers were positively correlated with bone structural and formation variables. The histomorphometric data were found to be consistent with alcohol bone disease. Osteomalacia was not a feature. Secondary pathogenetic factors were liver disease, hypovitaminosis D and C, diabetes mellitus, and possibly chronic pancreatitis.


Alcohol Chronic pancreatitis Cortical bone Trabecular bone Histomorphometry