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Diminished bone mineral density (BMD) is of significant concern in pediatric inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Exact etiology is debatable. The recognition of fibroblast growth factor 23 (FGF23), a phosphaturic hormone related to tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α) makes it plausible to hypothesize its possible relation to this pathology.
In this follow up case control study, BMD as well as serum levels of FGF23, calcium, phosphorus, alkaline phosphatase, creatinine, parathyroid hormone, 25 hydroxy vitamin D3 and 1, 25 dihydroxy vitamin D3 were measured in 47 children with IBD during flare and reassessed in the next remission.
Low BMD was frequent during IBD flare (87.2%) with significant improvement after remission (44.7%). During disease flare, only 21.3% of patients had vitamin D deficiency, which was severe in 12.8%. During remission, all patients had normal vitamin D except for two patients with Crohn’s disease (CD) who remained vitamin D deficient. Mean value of serum FGF23 was significantly higher among patients with IBD during flare compared to controls. It showed significant improvement during remission but not to the control values. 1, 25 dihydroxy vitamin D3, FGF23, serum calcium and urinary phosphorus were significant determinants of BMD in IBD patients.
We can conclude that diminished BMD in childhood IBD is a common multifactorial problem. Elevated FGF23 would be a novel addition to the list of factors affecting bone mineral density in this context. Further molecular studies are warranted to display the exact interplay of these factors.