Skip to main content

12-10-2010 | Gastroenterology | Article

Patients with CD have reduced bone mass and formation


Free abstract

MedWire News: Adults with quiescent Crohn's disease (CD) have significantly decreased bone mass compared with individuals without the condition, report researchers.

The authors say that the observed bone loss was due to decreased bone formation that may have occurred because of prior low osteocyte viability.

CD has previously been associated with increased risk for osteoporosis, but the reasons for this bone loss are only partially understood.

In this study, published in the journal Gastroenterology, Nathalie Bravenboer (VU University Medical Center, Amsterdam, The Netherlands) and co-workers recruited 23 patients with quiescent CD, aged 40.5 years on average, who were taking part in a larger trial.

The researchers explain that only patients with quiescent CD were included to try and reduce heterogeneity caused by active disease.

Transiliac bone biopsy samples were taken from the participants and histomorphometric analysis was performed. Age- and gender-matched controls without CD were also tested for comparison purposes.

Trabecular bone volume was significantly lower in patients with CD than controls, at 18.90% versus 25.49%. CD patients also had significantly decreased trabecular thickness compared with controls, at 120.61 versus 151.42 µm. They also had a lower mineral apposition rate, an indicator of bone formation and resorption, at 0.671 versus 0.746 µm/d for controls.

Of note, the reduction in bone mass was more marked in men than in women with CD.

These results agree with those of previous studies showing reduced bone mineral density in patients with inflammatory bowel diseases compared with the general population, as reported by Medwire News.

The authors acknowledge that the study population was small, but conclude that their results suggest that "CD-associated bone loss is caused by a reduced bone formation at the tissue level, possibly as a consequence of decreased osteocyte viability in the past."

MedWire ( is an independent clinical news service provided by Current Medicine Group, a trading division of Springer Healthcare Limited. © Springer Healthcare Ltd; 2010

By Helen Albert