Background: Renal osteodystrophy has been studied less extensively in predialysis than in dialysis patients. Different types or histological patterns in their natural evolution from moderate to advanced severity of renal insufficiency are only partially known, with special regard to adynamic bone disease and its relationship with osteomalacia.
Methods: We conducted a cross-sectional retrospective study on 76 unselected patients with chronic renal failure undergoing conservative treatment, with a wide range of severity of renal insufficiency. All the patients were subjected to bone biopsy for histological and histomorphometric evaluation. The patients, 44 males and 32 females ranging in age from 18 to 72 years and with serum creatinine 1.2-11.4 mg/dl, had not been exposed to aluminium-containing drugs and had never been treated with vitamin D or calcitriol.
Results: Ten patients had normal bone, nine were diagnosed with adynamic bone disease, 26 with mild mixed osteodystrophy, seven with predominant osteomalacia, 22 with advance mixed osteodystrophy, and two with predominant hyperparathyroidism. Patients with adynamic bone disease had less severe chronic renal failure than the other pathological subgroups, intact PTH above the upper limit of normal, normocalcaemia, and reduced serum osteocalcin in line with a significantly lower ObS/BS. Osteomalacia was found in a more advanced stage of chronic renal failure with relative hypocalcaemia and more severe metabolic acidosis. A creatinine clearance of 20 ml/min served as a clear demarcation between this histological group and adynamic bone disease.
Conclusions: It is postulated that adynamic bone disease is a form of renal osteodystrophy, separate from osteomalacia, appearing when bone resistance to PTH develops, probably a transient stage to more hyperparathyroid histological classes with increasing severity of chronic renal failure.