Assessment of Biochemical Bone Turnover Markers and Bone Mineral Density in Thin and Normal-Weight Children

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Abstract

Objective

There is scant research examining the prevalence of thinness in early childhood, despite its potential negative consequences for health and development across the life course. The objective of this study was to assess bone status through measurement of bone mineral density and biochemical bone turnover markers, with special attention paid to carboxylated (c-OC) as well as undercarboxylated (uc-OC) forms of osteocalcin, in the groups of thin and normal-weight children.

Design

The study included 80 healthy prepubertal children (median age 7.0 years), who were divided (according to Cole’s international cutoffs) into 2 subgroups: thin children (n = 40, body mass index [BMI] = 13.5 kg/m2) and normal-weight children (n = 40, BMI = 16.1 kg/m2). Bone mineral density (BMD) and bone mineral content (BMC) were assessed by dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry method. Serum concentrations of C-terminal telopeptide of collagen type I (CTX), total osteocalcin (OC), and c-OC, and uc-OC forms of osteocalcin were determined using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays.

Results

In thin children, we observed higher levels of bone resorption marker CTX compared with normal-weight peers. Total osteocalcin concentrations were comparable in both groups of children; however, in thin children we observed higher median values of uc-OC (34.40 vs. 29.30 ng/mL, P < 0.05) and similar c-OC levels (25.65 vs. 28.80 ng/mL). The ratio of c-OC to uc-OC was significantly lower (P < 0.05) in thin than in normal-weight children. Total BMD and BMC were significantly decreased (P < 0.0001) in thin children compared with normal-weight peers (0.724 ± 0.092 vs. 0.815 ± 0.060 g/cm2 and 602.7 ± 159.2 vs. 818.2 ± 220.1 g, respectively).

Conclusion

Increased concentrations of CTX and uc-OC might lead to disturbances in bone turnover and a decrease in bone mineral density in thin children.

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