Bone histomorphometry in children prior to commencing renal replacement therapy


Renal osteodystrophy (ROD) develops early in the course of chronic kidney disease (CKD). With improving patient survival it’s importance and relevance has increased. The last published bone biopsy data in children prior to renal replacement therapy (RRT) was in 1982, which demonstrated abnormal histology in all patients with a glomerular filtration rate (GFR) <20 ml/min per 1.73 m2. Studies investigating the relationship between bone histology and parathyroid hormone levels (PTH) and/or growth in children with CKD are few (seven). These were mostly undertaken in patients already initiated on RRT–dialysis. We investigated the presence of ROD in children at the commencement of RRT and to investigate any relationship between histology, growth and PTH levels. Following double tetracycline labelling, bone biopsies were taken from patients at the time of RRT surgery. Histological classification was based on the newly proposed turnover/mineralisation/volume (TMV) system. Eleven patients underwent bone biopsy. Patients were followed for an average of 1.1 years (0.5–1.8) prior to biopsy over an average of eight clinic visits (3–14), when routine biochemical data were collected. Time-integrated median calcium, phosphate and PTH levels were calculated. PTH levels were within the normal range in two patients with low turnover, 1.1–1.4 times the upper limit of normal (ULN) in three with mixed osteodystrophy and >2.9 times the ULN in four patients with high bone turnover. There was no relationship between bone turnover and growth. The presence of ROD was universal in these children with severe CKD. Low bone turnover was associated with normal-range mean PTH levels, and high bone turnover occurred at lower PTH levels than current guidelines would suggest.

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This work was supported by grants from the National Kidney Research Fund (R 18/2/2001) and the Special Trustees of Great Ormond Street Hospital.

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Correspondence to Simon Waller.

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Waller, S., Shroff, R., Freemont, A.J. et al. Bone histomorphometry in children prior to commencing renal replacement therapy. Pediatr Nephrol 23, 1523–1529 (2008).

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  • Chronic kidney disease
  • Histomorphometry
  • Bone biopsy
  • Parathyroid hormone
  • Renal osteodystrophy
  • Growth