Knowledge of the effect of kidney transplantation on bone is limited and fragmentary. The aim of this study was to characterize the evolution of bone disease in the first post-transplant year.
We performed a prospective, observational cohort study in patients referred for kidney transplantation under a steroid-sparing immunosuppressive protocol. Bone phenotyping was done before, or at the time of, kidney transplantation, and repeated at 12 months post-transplant. The phenotyping included bone histomorphometry, bone densitometry by dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry, and biochemical parameters of bone and mineral metabolism.
Paired data were obtained for 97 patients (median age 55 years; 72% male; 21% of patients had diabetes). Bone turnover remained normal or improved in the majority of patients (65%). Bone histomorphometry revealed decreases in bone resorption (eroded perimeter, mean 4.6% pre- to 2.3% post-transplant; 0.001) and disordered bone formation (fibrosis, 27% pre- versus 2% post-transplant; <0.001). Whereas bone mineralization was normal in all but one patient pretransplant, delayed mineralization was seen in 15% of patients at 1 year post-transplant. Hypophosphatemia was associated with deterioration in histomorphometric parameters of bone mineralization. Changes in bone mineral density were highly variable, ranging from -18% to +17% per year. Cumulative steroid dose was related to bone loss at the hip, whereas resolution of hyperparathyroidism was related to bone gain at both spine and hip.
Changes in bone turnover, mineralization, and volume post-transplant are related both to steroid exposure and ongoing disturbances of mineral metabolism. Optimal control of mineral metabolism may be key to improving bone quality in kidney transplant recipients.
Evolution of Bone Histomorphometry and Vascular Calcification Before and After Renal Transplantation, NCT01886950.

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