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, 32 (3), 101-13

Biochemical Markers of Bone Metabolism in Animals: Uses and Limitations


Biochemical Markers of Bone Metabolism in Animals: Uses and Limitations

M J Allen. Vet Clin Pathol.


Routine assessment of the skeleton's response to disease and injury traditionally has consisted of plain-film radiography supplemented with advanced imaging techniques, such as computed tomography, magnetic resonance imaging, nuclear scintigraphy, and bone densitometry. Although these techniques provide increased sensitivity as compared with radiography, they still are limited by the fact that they can only document the net results of past skeletal activity. In contrast, serum and urinary biomarkers of bone formation and resorption provide near real-time information about bone cell activity. In this review, I describe the scientific rationale behind the use of these markers in humans and detail the efforts that have been made to adapt this technology to veterinary medicine and animal research. Commercial assay kits that are applicable to different animal species are described, and the potential limitations of the technology are discussed. The goal of this review is to provide clinical pathologists and researchers with the information needed to decide whether the use of bone markers is likely to be helpful and to select the most appropriate marker (or panel of markers) to answer a particular question.

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