Healing of vitamin D deficiency rickets complicating hypophosphatasia suggests a role beyond circulating mineral sufficiency for vitamin D in musculoskeletal health

Bone. 2020 Jul:136:115322. doi: 10.1016/j.bone.2020.115322. Epub 2020 Mar 19.


Hypophosphatasia (HPP) is the metabolic bone disease caused by loss-of-function mutation(s) of the ALPL gene that encodes the cell-surface tissue-nonspecific isoenzyme of alkaline phosphatase (TNSALP). In HPP, extracellular accumulation of inorganic pyrophosphate (PPi), a TNSALP natural substrate and inhibitor of biomineralization, often leads to rickets or osteomalacia despite normal or sometimes elevated circulating levels of calcium (Ca) and inorganic phosphate (Pi). We report an infant girl with vitamin D deficiency rickets subsequently healed by cholecalciferol administration alone before receiving TNSALP-replacement therapy for accompanying HPP. Throughout her clinical course, circulating Ca and Pi levels were normal or elevated. At presentation with failure-to-thrive at age six months, radiographs revealed severe rickets and serum 25(OH)D was 8 ng/mL (Nl, 30-100), yet low ALP activity 55 U/L (Nl, 124-341), normal Ca 9.3 mg/dL (Nl, 8.5-10.1) and Pi 6.4 mg/dL (Nl, 3.5-7.0), and low-normal parathyroid hormone 21 pg/mL (Nl, 14-72) were instead consistent with HPP. At age nine months, after 1000 IU of cholecalciferol orally each day for six weeks, serum 25(OH)D was 86 ng/mL, strength markedly better, and radiographs documented significant improvement of rickets. At age 18 months, with fully healed vitamin D deficiency rickets, findings of underlying HPP included a waddling gait and Gower sign, metaphyseal "tongues" of radiolucency, elevated serum pyridoxal 5'-phosphate 121 ng/mL (Nl, 2-33), and bi-allelic ALPL missense mutations. Then, nearly complete restoration of strength and radiographic healing of her remaining skeletal disease from HPP occurred during asfotase alfa enzyme replacement treatment. At no time, including presentation, were circulating Ca or Pi levels compromised. Instead, and in keeping with HPP, high-normal or elevated serum Ca and Pi concentrations were consistently documented. Thus, our findings suggest some role for vitamin D in musculoskeletal health beyond assuring circulating mineral sufficiency.

Keywords: 25-hydroxyvitamin D; Alkaline phosphatase; Asfotase alfa; Calcium; Cholecalciferol; Hyperphosphatemia; Hypovitaminosis D; Inorganic pyrophosphate; Mineralization; Myopathy; Osteomalacia; Phosphate; Phosphorus; Vitamin B(6).

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Alkaline Phosphatase
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypercalcemia*
  • Hypophosphatasia* / complications
  • Hypophosphatasia* / drug therapy
  • Infant
  • Minerals
  • Osteomalacia*
  • Vitamin D / therapeutic use


  • Minerals
  • Vitamin D
  • Alkaline Phosphatase