Evidence of Increased Bone Resorption in Neurofibromatosis Type 1 Using Urinary Pyridinium Crosslink Analysis

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Although neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1) is a neurocutaneous disorder, skeletal abnormalities such as long-bone dysplasia, scoliosis, sphenoid wing dysplasia, and osteopenia are observed. To investigate the role of bone resorption as a mechanism for the bony abnormalities, we selected urinary pyridinium crosslinks (collagen degradation products excreted in urine) as a measure of bone resorption in NF1. Bone resorption was evaluated by quantitative assessment of the urinary excretion of pyridinium crosslinks [pyridinoline (Pyd) and deoxypyridinoline (Dpd)]. Total (free plus peptide-bound) pyridinium crosslinks from the first morning urines from 59 NF1 children (ages 5–19) were extracted and analyzed (17 children with a localized skeletal dysplasia, and 42 without). The data were compared with a healthy reference population without NF1 (n = 99). Multivariate analyses, controlling for age showed statistically significant increases for Dpd (p < 0.001) and the Dpd/Pyd ratio (p < 0.001) in NF1 individuals with and without a skeletal dysplasia. NF1 children have an increase in the urinary excretion of pyridinium crosslinks, reflecting increased bone resorption. The effects of NF1 haploinsufficiency likely contribute to abnormal bone remodeling, either directly or indirectly by aberrant Ras signaling, potentially predisposing NF1 individuals to localized skeletal defects.

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