Low serum osteocalcin levels in glucocorticoid-treated asthmatics

J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 1986 Feb;62(2):379-83. doi: 10.1210/jcem-62-2-379.


Serum osteocalcin (OC) levels were measured in 19 asthmatic patients receiving long term glucocorticoid therapy and in age- and sex-matched asthmatic patients not receiving this treatment. In the glucocorticoid-treated patients, the mean OC level was approximately 50% less than that in the control group (P less than 0.001), and there was a direct correlation between serum OC and 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D [1,25-(OH)2D; r = 0.71; P less than 0.001]. Multiple regression analysis in a total of 39 glucocorticoid-treated patients indicated that OC correlated directly to 1,25-(OH)2D and inversely to glucocorticoid dose. There was no correlation between OC and 1,25-(OH)2D in the control group and no significant difference in mean serum 1,25-(OH)2D between the steroid-treated asthmatic patients and the asthmatic control patients. The effect of a 4-day course of oral 1,25-(OH)2D on serum OC was studied in six patients with glucocorticoid excess and six normal subjects. There was a similar percent increase in OC levels in both groups, though the basal concentrations and absolute increases were substantially less in the steroid-treated group. It is likely that the depression of serum OC in glucocorticoid-treated patients results from the reduction in the rate of bone formation induced by these hormones.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Oral
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Alkaline Phosphatase / blood
  • Asthma / blood*
  • Asthma / drug therapy
  • Calcium-Binding Proteins / blood*
  • Ergocalciferols / analogs & derivatives
  • Ergocalciferols / blood
  • Ergocalciferols / pharmacology
  • Female
  • Glucocorticoids / adverse effects*
  • Glucocorticoids / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Osteocalcin
  • Radioimmunoassay


  • Calcium-Binding Proteins
  • Ergocalciferols
  • Glucocorticoids
  • Osteocalcin
  • 1,25-dihydroxyergocalciferol
  • Alkaline Phosphatase