Bone Disease in Thalassemia: A Frequent and Still Unresolved Problem

Department of Pediatrics, Weill Medical College of Cornell, New York, New York, USA.
Journal of bone and mineral research: the official journal of the American Society for Bone and Mineral Research (Impact Factor: 6.83). 03/2009; 24(3):543-57. DOI: 10.1359/jbmr.080505
Source: PubMed


Adults with beta thalassemia major frequently have low BMD, fractures, and bone pain. The purpose of this study was to determine the prevalence of low BMD, fractures, and bone pain in all thalassemia syndromes in childhood, adolescence, and adulthood, associations of BMD with fractures and bone pain, and etiology of bone disease in thalassemia. Patients of all thalassemia syndromes in the Thalassemia Clinical Research Network, > or =6 yr of age, with no preexisting medical condition affecting bone mass or requiring steroids, participated. We measured spine and femur BMD and whole body BMC by DXA and assessed vertebral abnormalities by morphometric X-ray absorptiometry (MXA). Medical history by interview and review of medical records, physical examinations, and blood and urine collections were performed. Three hundred sixty-one subjects, 49% male, with a mean age of 23.2 yr (range, 6.1-75 yr), were studied. Spine and femur BMD Z-scores < -2 occurred in 46% and 25% of participants, respectively. Greater age, lower weight, hypogonadism, and increased bone turnover were strong independent predictors of low bone mass regardless of thalassemia syndrome. Peak bone mass was suboptimal. Thirty-six percent of patients had a history of fractures, and 34% reported bone pain. BMD was negatively associated with fractures but not with bone pain. Nine percent of participants had uniformly decreased height of several vertebrae by MXA, which was associated with the use of iron chelator deferoxamine before 6 yr of age. In patients with thalassemia, low BMD and fractures occur frequently and independently of the particular syndrome. Peak bone mass is suboptimal. Low BMD is associated with hypogonadism, increased bone turnover, and an increased risk for fractures.

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    • "Nutritional status is becoming increasingly important. Patients with thalassemia commonly exhibit inadequate growth, poor immune function, decreased bone mineralization, increased oxidative stress, and all morbidities which link to poor nutritional status [5] [6] [7]. Vitamins and trace minerals represent key buffers against oxidative damage. "
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    ABSTRACT: Background and aim: Trace elements and vitamins play a vital role in human body to perform its function properly. Thalassemic patients are at risk of micronutrient deficiency. This study estimated levels of vitamins A, C, E, B12, folic acid, total homocysteine (tHcy), and methylmalonic acid (MMA) along with trace elements, zinc, copper, and selenium in Beta-thalassemia-major patients. Methods: This study included 108 patients with Beta-thalassemia-major and 60 age and sex matched healthy children. Serum levels of vitamin A, E, C, tHcy, and MMA were estimated by high pressure liquid chromatography while serum levels of folic acid and B12 were estimated by thin layer chromatography. Serum zinc, copper, and selenium were determined by atomic absorption spectrometry. Results: There was a significant decrease of vitamins A, C, E, and B12 and trace elements zinc, copper, and selenium in thalassemic patients as compared to controls. tHcy and MMA were significantly elevated in patients. No significant correlations were found between the serum levels of the studied vitamins and trace elements as regards age, frequency of transfusion, duration of transfusion, and serum ferritin. Conclusion: The level of various nutritional biomarkers (vitamins A, C, E, and B12 and trace elements zinc, copper, selenium) was reduced in chronically transfused Egyptian thalassemic patient. These patients should have periodic nutritional evaluation and supplementation. Multicenter studies are highly recommended.
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    • "In thalassemic children and adolescents many factors can compromise the adaptation process to VDD including: IGF-I deficiency, hypoparathyroidism due to iron deposition in the parathyroid gland, delayed puberty and hypogonadism, decreased bone mass and decreased synthesis of 25-OH-D,due to hepatic siderosis.19,47,54 "
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    ABSTRACT: The survival of patients with thalassemia major has progressively improved with advances in therapy; however, osteoporosis and cardiac dysfunction remain frequent complications. Adequate circulating levels of vitamin D are essential for optimal skeletal health and reducing fracture risk. Vitamin D deficiency and insufficiency is reported to be high in thalassemic patients in many countries despite the presence of good sunshine and routine prescription of 400-1,000 IU vitamin D per day. The risk of vitamin D deficiency in thalassemia and its relation to bone disease; including osteoporosis, rickets, scoliosis, spinal deformities and fractures as well as to cardiac dysfunction is discussed in this mini-review. Monitoring and maintaining normal serum level of 25-OH vitamin D through oral intake of vitamin D and early correction of VDD by oral or parental use of vitamin D may significantly improve bone mineral accretion and ameliorate cardiac function.
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    • "Vitamin D abnormalities may contribute, therefore, to the low bone mass accrual that is seen among adolescents with thalassemia (Vogiatzi et al, 2009). "
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    ABSTRACT: This study aimed to determine differences in the rates of growth, endocrine- and calcium-related abnormalities in the various thalassemia syndromes in North America treated with current therapies. Medical history, physical examinations and blood and urine collections were obtained from patients with all thalassemia syndromes age 6 years and older in the Thalassemia Clinical Research Network. 361 subjects, 49% male, mean age 23.2 years (range 6.1-75 years) were studied. Approximately 25% of children and adults, regardless of the thalassemia syndrome, had short stature. Overall growth in children was mildly affected. Final height was close to midparental height (z = -0.73 +/- 1.24). Patients with beta thalassemia major (TM) had higher rates of hypogonadism, multiple endocrinopathies, worse hyperglycaemia, subclinical hypoparathyroidism and hypercalciuria. Hypogonadism remained the most frequent endocrinopathy and was frequently under-treated. 12.8% of the subjects had 25 vitamin D concentrations less than 27 nmol/l and 82% less than 75 nmol/l, regardless of the thalassemia syndrome. Adolescents had lower 25 vitamin D levels than children and adults. Compared to patients with other thalassemia syndromes, those with beta TM suffered from higher rates of multiple endocrinopathies, abnormal calcium metabolism and hypercalciuria. Vitamin D abnormalities were high among adolescents.
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