Evaluation of bone turnover in type I osteoporosis using biochemical markers specific for both bone formation and bone resorption

Osteoporos Int. 1993 Sep;3(5):255-60. doi: 10.1007/BF01623829.


The aims of the study were to evaluate the use of bone-specific biochemical markers of turnover in type I osteoporosis, to test for evidence of heterogeneity of bone turnover in this condition, and to attempt to devise an 'uncoupling index' by using the relationship between bone-specific biochemical markers of bone formation and bone resorption. In women with type I osteoporosis (mean age 64 years, SD 5; n = 63) the mean level of serum osteocalcin, a specific biochemical marker of bone formation, was 9.9 ng/ml (SD 2.0), which was higher than the level in normal postmenopausal women (mean age 65 years, SD 6; n = 8.9 ng/ml (SD 2.0; p < 0.01). The variance of serum osteocalcin levels in the two groups was similar. Compared with this 11% increase in the biochemical marker for bone formation, the markers of bone resorption, total urinary deoxypyridinoline (bone-specific), pyridinoline and hydroxyproline were increased by 40% (p < 0.0001), 61% (p < 0.0001) and 25% (p < 0.01), respectively. Furthermore, these biochemical markers of bone resorption had greater variance in women in type I osteoporosis than in the normal postmenopausal women (p < 0.01). The urinary excretion of the free crosslinks deoxypyridinoline, pyridinoline and glycosylated pyridinoline were increased by 26% (p < 0.001), 17% (p < 0.01) and 13% (NS) respectively. An 'uncoupling index' was calculated for the difference between urinary deoxypyridinoline and serum osteocalcin using the results from the normal women and expressed as z-scores. We conclude that the pyridinium crosslinks of collagen enable better discrimination between normal and osteoporotic women than does hydroxyproline.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Amino Acids / urine*
  • Biomarkers / urine
  • Bone Development*
  • Bone Resorption / blood
  • Bone Resorption / urine*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hydroxyproline / urine*
  • Middle Aged
  • Osteocalcin / blood
  • Osteoporosis, Postmenopausal / blood
  • Osteoporosis, Postmenopausal / urine*
  • Postmenopause / blood
  • Postmenopause / urine*


  • Amino Acids
  • Biomarkers
  • Osteocalcin
  • pyridinoline
  • deoxypyridinoline
  • Hydroxyproline