Twelve children (8 boys and 4 girls) with insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (IDDM), aged 9-15 years, received 1 alpha-hydroxyvitamin D3 (1 alpha-OHD3) in a dose of 0.05 microgram/kg per day for 1 year. Duration of disease varied between 2.8 and 9 years. Bone density was determined in the distal third of forearm using single photon absorptiometry, and was expressed as standard scores (+/- SD) with respect to sex- and age-matched controls. Bone density measurements and ultrasound studies of the kidneys were performed at 0, 6 and 12 months. Serum calcium, ionized calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, creatinine, alkaline phosphatase, glycosylated haemoglobin in morning blood samples and urinary Ca, P, Mg, and hydroxyproline were regularly determined. One patient was excluded from the study because of hypercalciuria and one because of lack of compliance. Bone density increased significantly after 6 and 12 months of 1 alpha-OHD3 administration (P = 0.015, P < 0.001 respectively). None of the biochemical parameters changed significantly.
Conclusion: Osteopenia is not uncommon in children and adolescents with IDDM. In 10 children with IDDM and osteopenia the administration of 1 alpha-OHD3 for 1 year corrected bone loss.