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Calcium Supplementation Increases Bone Mass in GH-Deficient Prepubertal Children during GH ReplacementZamboni G.a · Antoniazzi F.a · Lauriola S.a · Bertoldo F.b · Tatò L.a
aPediatric Clinic and bDepartment of Internal Medicine, University of Verona, Verona, Italy
Background/aims: Since GH plays an important role in bone mineralization, and several studies demonstrated the positive influence of a higher calcium intake on bone mass, we studied the effect of calcium supplementation in GHD children during GH therapy. Methods: 28 prepubertal GHD children, 5.0–9.9 years old, were assigned to two groups: group A (n = 14; 7 females) treated with GH, and group B (n = 14; 7 females) treated with GH + calcium gluconolactate and carbonate (1 g calcium/day per os). Auxological parameters, total bone mineral content (TBMC) and density (TBMD), leg BMC and BMD, lumbar BMD, fat mass (FM) and lean tissue mass (LTM), blood 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25-OHD), parathyroid hormone (PTH), osteocalcin (OC) and urinary N-terminal telopeptide of type I collagen (NTx) were determined at the start of therapy and after 1 and 2 years of treatment. Results: During the 2 years of the study, TBMC, TBMD, leg BMC and BMD (but not lumbar BMD) increased in both groups of patients, however after 2 years of treatment they were significantly higher in the calcium-supplemented group B than in group A (p < 0.05, for all parameters). At the start of therapy, in both groups of patients percentage FM was higher and total and leg LTM lower than in controls (p < 0.05 for each parameter). Thereafter, FM decreased and LTM increased and after 2 years they were both different from baseline (p < 0.05). After 2 years of treatment, leg BMC and BMD were more positively correlated with regional leg LTM in patients of group B (r = 0.834 and r = 0.827, respectively; p < 0.001) than in patients of group A (r = 0.617 and r = 0.637, respectively; p < 0.05). 25-OHD and PTH levels were in the normal range in all patients at the start and during treatment. OC levels were lower and urinary NTx levels higher in patients than in controls (p < 0.05 for both parameters), either at the start and after 1 year of treatment. After 2 years of treatment, OC levels were significantly higher than at the start of the study (p < 0.05) in both groups of patients, but they were higher in group B than in group A (p < 0.05); on the contrary, urinary Ntx levels were lower in group B than in group A (p < 0.05). Conclusion: In GHD children, treated with GH, calcium supplementation improved bone mass; it may aid in reaching better peak bone mass and in protecting weight-bearing bones, usually completed in childhood to maximum levels, from risk of osteoporosis and fractures later in life.
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