Background: Data on risk factors for bone loss in chronic active hepatitis (CAH) and primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC) are scanty and/or conflicting.
Methods: Bone mineral density (BMD) in the distal forearm was measured using single-photon absorptiometry in 39 patients with CAH and 32 patients with PBC. We also attempted to identify risk factors for bone loss by means of a questionnaire and through a wide range of biochemical analyses.
Results: In the CAH patients BMD is inversely related to the duration of steroid treatment and to age at menarche. In the PBC patients there was a strong correlation between BMD and serum gastrin concentrations.
Conclusions: Bone loss in CAH is to some extent explained by steroid treatment and delayed menarche. Bone loss in PBC may be reduced by increased calcitonin secretion induced by gastrocalcin.