Hepatic osteodystrophy in chronic cholestasis: Evidence for a multifactorial etiology

Gordon L. Klein*, Humberto Soriano, Robert J. Shulman, Moise Levy, Glenville Jones, Craig Langman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


Children with cholestatic liver disease have been thought to develop hepatic osteodystrophy resulting from vitamin D and calcium malabsorption, resulting in secondary hyperparathyroidism and osteomalacia or rickets. However, treatment with vitamin D has not always proven successful in improving the bone disturbance. The aim of our study was to determine the role of vitamin D deficiency in the pathogenesis of hepatic osteodystrophy. We studied five patients, three female and two male, ages 0.9-19 yr, with biopsy-proven chronic cholestatic liver disease and previously low serum levels of vitamin D despite oral intake of vitamin D preparations. Patients were admitted to the Clinical Research Center for 8 days for sunlight deprivation and ultraviolet light substitution and for determinations of serum 25-hyroxyvitamin D(25(OH)) D2 and -D3, osteocalcin, and type I collagen telopeptide (ICTP), the last two being markers of bone formation and resorption, respectively. Samples were taken on admission, at discharge, and 1 month later. Results demonstrated low serum levels of osteocalcin and normal circulating levels of ICTP. Admission serum 25(OH)D2 levels were uniformly low or undetectable and remained so. Admission levels of circulating 25(OH)D3 were normal or low and did not rise during ultraviolet light therapy or subsequent resumption of oral vitamin D therapy and remained low 1 month later. These results indicate that in the face of low-normal to low total 25(OH)D levels, the low osteocalcin and normal ICTP levels suggest that decreased bone formation and not increased bone resorption is the main determinant of bone loss in a subset of children with chronic cholestatic liver disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)136-140
Number of pages5
JournalPediatric Transplantation
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 20 2002


  • 25-hydroxyvitamin D
  • Bone formation
  • Bone resorption
  • Cholestasis
  • Hepatic osteodystrophy
  • Osteocalcin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Transplantation


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