Persistent increase in bone turnover in Graves' patients with subclinical hyperthyroidism.J Clin Endocrinol Metab 2000; 85(11):4157-61JC
Hyperthyroid patients exhibit accelerated bone loss by increased bone turnover, and normalization of thyroid function is associated with a significant attenuation of increased bone turnover, followed by an increase in bone mineral density. However, of patients with Graves' disease (GD) maintained on antithyroid drug (ATD) treatment, some exhibit persistent suppression of TSH long after normalization of their serum free T3 (FT3) and free T4 (FT4) levels. The aim of this study was to examine whether bone metabolism is still enhanced in TSH-suppressed premenopausal GD patients with normal FT3 and FT4 levels after ATD therapy (n = 19) compared with that in TSH-normal premenopausal GD patients (n = 30), and to evaluate the relationship between serum TSH receptor antibody (TRAb), an indicator of disease activity of GD, and various biochemical markers of bone metabolism. No difference was found between the two groups in serum Ca, phosphorus, or intact PTH, or in urinary Ca excretion. Serum bone alkaline phosphatase (B-ALP), bone formation markers, and urinary excretions of pyridinoline (U-PYD) and deoxypyridinoline (U-DPD), which are bone resorption markers, were significantly higher in the TSH-suppression group than in the TSH-normal group (B-ALP, P < 0.05; U-PYD, P < 0.001; U-DPD, P < 0.001). For the group of all GD patients enrolled in this study, TSH, but neither FT3 nor FT4, exhibited a significant negative correlation with B-ALP (r = -0.300; P < 0.05), U-PYD (r = -0.389; P < 0.05), and U-DPD (r = -0.446; P < 0.05), whereas TRAb exhibited a highly positive and significant correlation with B-ALP (r = 0.566; P < 0.0001), U-PYD (r = 0.491; P < 0.001), and U-DPD (r = 0.549; P < 0.0001). Even in GD patients with normal TSH, serum TRAb was positively correlated with B-ALP (r = 0.638; P < 0.001), U-PYD (r = 0.638; P < 0.001), and U-DPD (r = 0.641; P < 0.001). In conclusion, it is important to achieve normal TSH levels during ATD therapy to normalize bone turnover. TRAb was not only a useful marker for GD activity, but was also a very sensitive marker for bone metabolism in GD patients during ATD treatment.