Improvements in bone density and structure during anti-TNF-α therapy in pediatric Crohn's disease

Lindsay M. Griffin*, Meena Thayu, Robert N. Baldassano, Mark D. DeBoer, Babette S. Zemel, Michelle R. Denburg, Lee A. Denson, Justine Shults, Rita Herskovitz, Jin Long, Mary B. Leonard

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

53 Scopus citations


Context: Pediatric Crohn's Disease (CD) is associated with deficits in trabecularbonemineral density (BMD) and cortical structure, potentially related to TNF-α effects to decrease bone formation and promote bone resorption. Objective: This study aimed to examine changes in bone density and structure in children and adolescents with CD following initiation of anti-TNF-α therapy. Design and Participants: Participants (n = 74; age 5-21 years) with CD completed a 12-month prospective cohort study. Main Outcome Measures: Tibia peripheral quantitative computed tomography scans were obtained at initiation of anti-TNF-α therapy and 12 months later. Musculoskeletal outcomes were expressed as sex-and race-specific z scores relative to age, based on -650 reference participants. Results: At baseline, CD participants had lower height, trabecular BMD, cortical area (due to smaller periosteal and larger endocortical circumferences), and muscle area z scores, compared with reference participants (all P=.01). Pediatric CD activity index decreased during the 10-week induction (P=.001), in association with subsequent gains in height, trabecular BMD, cortical area (due to recovery of endocortical bone), and muscle area z scores over 12 months (height P=.05; others P=.001). Bone-specific alkaline phosphatase levels, a biomarker of bone formation, increased a median of 75% (P=.001) during induction with associated 12-month improvements in trabecularBMDand cortical area z scores (both P<001). Younger age was associated with greater increases in trabecular BMD z scores (P=.001) and greater linear growth with greater recovery of cortical area (P=.001). Conclusions: Anti-TNF-α therapy was associated with improvements in trabecularBMDand cortical structure. Improvements were greater in younger and growing participants, suggesting a window of opportunity for treatment of bone deficits.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2630-2639
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of clinical endocrinology and metabolism
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 1 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, medical
  • Endocrinology
  • Biochemistry
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism


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