Bone Resorption Is Increased in Pheochromocytoma Patients and Normalizes following Adrenalectomy

A. G. Veldhuis-Vlug, M. El Mahdiui, E. Endert, A. C. Heijboer, E. Fliers, P. H. Bisschop

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Context: The sympathetic nervous system (SNS) controls bone turnover in rodents, but it is uncertain whether a similar role for the SNS exists in humans. Pheochromocytomas are catecholamine-producing neuroendocrine tumors. Because catecholamines are the neurotransmitters of the SNS, we hypothesized that pheochromocytoma patients have increased bone turnover. Objective: Our objective was to compare bone turnover in pheochromocytoma patients and controls. Design and Setting: This retrospective case-control study was performed at the Endocrine Department of the Academic Medical Center of the University of Amsterdam in The Netherlands from 2007 until 2011. Patients: All patients were screened for pheochromocytoma. Cases (n = 21) were identified by 24-h urinary excretion of fractionated metanephrines above the institutional reference value and confirmed by histology after adrenalectomy. All patients screened and diagnosed as not having pheochromocytoma served as controls (n = 126). Main Outcome Measure: The difference in bone turnover markers C-terminal cross-linking telopeptides of collagen type I (CTx) and procollagen type 1 N propeptide (P1NP) between cases and controls was the main outcome measure. Results: CTx concentrations were higher in cases [343 ng/liter; interquartile range (IQR), 295 ng/liter] than in controls (232 ng/liter; IQR, 168 ng/liter; P <0.001) and decreased after adrenalectomy [before, 365 ng/liter (IQR, 450 ng/liter); after, 290 ng/liter (IQR, 241 ng/liter); P = 0.044]. The effect remained after adjustment for possible confounders. P1NP concentrations did not differ. Conclusions: This study shows that pheochromocytoma patients have increased bone resorption, which normalizes after adrenalectomy. This finding supports the concept of regulation of bone remodeling by the SNS in humans. (J Clin Endocrinol Metab 97: E2093-E2097, 2012)
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)E2093-E2097
JournalJournal of clinical endocrinology and metabolism
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 2012

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