X-linked hypophosphatemia: a clinical, biochemical, and histopathologic assessment of morbidity in adults

Medicine (Baltimore). 1989 Nov;68(6):336-52.


Research and management of XLH have concentrated on the disease in childhood, and the natural history and morbidity of XLH in adult life are thus poorly understood. We have studied 22 adults (6 men) with XLH to clarify these aspects of this most common inherited form of rickets and osteomalacia. Most study participants had presented with rickets in early childhood and had undergone tibial osteotomies on at least 1 occasion. Seventeen individuals had genu varum, 1 had genu valgum, and 4 had straight legs, attributable to successful osteotomies in 2. Five subjects reported increasing lower limb deformity in the late teens or subsequently. Eight subjects complained of bone pain, 6 of whom had radiologic evidence of pseudofractures; pseudofractures were found in 4 additional asymptomatic individuals. None of 16 subjects who underwent transiliac bone biopsy had normal double tetracycline labeling; accordingly, all were considered to have osteomalacia. Bone pain was associated with a relative osteoid volume in excess of 25%. Relative osteoid volume was inversely related to serum 1,25(OH)2D concentration (r = -0.74, p less than 0.02), but unrelated to serum concentrations of calcium and phosphate or their product. Eighteen participants complained of joint pain, predominantly in the knees and ankles. The severity of joint pain correlated with the degree of lower limb deformity (p = 0.011) which, in turn, was related to fasting serum phosphate concentration (r = -0.56, p less than 0.025) and TmP/GFR (r = -0.70, p less than 0.005). Enthesopathy affected 33% of those younger than 30 years, and all those above this age. Nineteen individuals had experienced significant dental problems, most commonly abscess formation. Eight had required complete dental clearance. Twelve women from the group had a total of 22 live births. Fifteen of these were by cesarean section, although radiologic evidence of pelvic narrowing was not found in any subject. Serum ALP was elevated in all but 3 of the 18 untreated subjects. Levels correlated with those of other indices of bone turnover (BGP r = 0.82, p less than 0.005; urine total HP r = 0.60, p less than 0.025; urine free HPr = 0.78, p less than 0.005), but were not related to the degree of osteomalacia found on bone biopsy. Serum levels of iPTH, 25(OH)D, 1,25(OH)2D, and thyroid hormones were generally normal in the untreated patients. We conclude that adults with untreated XLH have osteomalacia that is frequently symptomatic. Even greater morbidity is caused by degenerative joint disease arising from lower limb deformities.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Bone and Bones / pathology
  • Female
  • Genetic Linkage
  • Humans
  • Hypophosphatemia, Familial / genetics*
  • Hypophosphatemia, Familial / metabolism
  • Hypophosphatemia, Familial / pathology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Muscular Diseases / pathology
  • Osteoarthritis / pathology
  • Osteomalacia / pathology
  • Pain
  • Phosphates / blood
  • Prospective Studies
  • X Chromosome*


  • Phosphates