Interpretation and application of bone turnover markers in children and adolescents

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Purpose of reviewTo assess recent research findings on various biochemical bone turnover markers and to assess their use in monitoring bone growth in children and adolescents.Recent findingsThere are very few recent studies that investigate various serum and urine analytes that reflect bone formation and resorption to monitor bone health during longitudinal growth. In infants and young children, the measurement of bone markers in serum is suggested because of the practical difficulties associated with urine collection and by the circadian and intraindividual variation in urinary markers. During the prepubertal growth, bone turnover values are similar in age-matched boys and girls. The increase in different bone turnover markers coincides with the pubertal growth spurt. This starts later in boys and the increase in bone turnover markers also occurs later, is greater and lasts longer when compared with girls. Recent studies demonstrated that bone size increases and bone turnover decreases until mid-twenties.SummaryMore than one bone formation and resorption marker should be measured to monitor longitudinal growth and bone mineral accrual, because sensitivities and predictive values of single markers are still poor. It is important to find new and more sensitive markers that could better characterize linear growth.

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