Vitamin D metabolism and osteomalacia in cystic fibrosis

Harold Z. Friedman, Craig B. Langman*, Murray J. Favus

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


A 25-yr-old black man with cystic fibrosis and cirrhosis developed symptoms of osteomalacia and hypocalcemia, hypophosphatemia, secondary hyperparathyroidism, and low circulating 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25-OHD). Serum 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D (1,25-[OH]2D) was within the normal range. Iliac crest bone biopsy confirmed the diagnosis of osteomalacia. Oral administration of 50,000 IU of vitamin D2 failed to relieve symptoms or raise serum 25-OHD levels to normal. Intramuscular vitamin D2, 10,000 IU every 8-12 week, improved symptoms, raised serum 25-OHD to normal, and increased circulating 1,25-[OH]2D to values five times normal. Over the next 10 mo circulating 1,25-[OH]2D remained elevated despite normalization of serum calcium, phosphorus, and parathyroid hormone. Repeat bone biopsy 1 yr after parenteral vitamin D showed healing of the osteomalacia. Malabsorption of vitamin D appears secondary to profound steatorrhea due to pancreatic insufficiency and secondary biliary cirrhosis. Although extensive hepatocellular disease was present, hepatic conversion of vitamin D to 25-OHD was intact. Both high and low circulating 1,25-[OH]2D levels during active osteomalacia have been reported; initially, the level was in the normal range and higher values in this patient occurred with repletion of 25-OHD substrate. This study shows that symptomatic osteomalacia may be a major manifestation of cystic fibrosis in those patients surviving into adulthood. Measurements of serum 25-OHD in cystic fibrosis patients may identify those who should receive supplemental vitamin D.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)808-813
Number of pages6
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1985

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hepatology
  • Gastroenterology


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