Effect of orthotopic liver transplantation on bone mineral content and serum vitamin D metabolites in infants and children with chronic cholestasis

Authors

  • Eric A. Argao M.D.,

    Corresponding author
    1. Division of Gastroenterology and Nutrition, Children's Hospital Research Foundation, Cincinnati, Ohio 45229–3039
    • Division of Basic Science Research, Room 3011, Children's Hospital Research Foundation, 3333 Burnet Ave., Cincinnati, OH 45229–3039
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  • William F. Balistreri,

    1. Division of Gastroenterology and Nutrition, Children's Hospital Research Foundation, Cincinnati, Ohio 45229–3039
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  • Bruce W. Hollis,

    1. Department of Pediatrics, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, South Carolina 29425
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  • Frederick C. Ryckman,

    1. Department of Pediatric Surgery, Children's Hospital Medical Center, Cincinnati, Ohio 45229–3039
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  • James E. Heubi

    1. Division of Gastroenterology and Nutrition, Children's Hospital Research Foundation, Cincinnati, Ohio 45229–3039
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Abstract

Almost all infants and children with chronic cholestasis have osteopenia. We evaluated the effect of orthotopic liver transplantation on bone mineral content and serum 25(OH)-vitamin D–[25(OH)D]–of nine infants and children (five girls; age, 6 to 21 mo at the time of orthotopic liver transplantation) with end-stage liver disease resulting from chronic cholestasis. We hypothesized that after orthotopic liver transplantation, decreased bone mineral content will recover and the serum 25(OH)D level will either normalize or remain normal in those who were previously vitamin D deficient or sufficient, respectively. All had subnormal bone mineral content before transplant. On long-term follow-up (>4 mo) of seven patients, bone mineral content normalized in all between 6.5 and 19 mo after transplant, with a mean of 11.2 + 4.5 mo. In six patients with normal serum 25(OH)D levels before orthotopic liver transplantation, the serum 25(OH)D levels had declined markedly 1 to 2 mo after transplant, followed by return to normal by 3 to 6 mo. Low serum 25(OH)D levels (<15 ng/ml) in three patients before orthotopic liver transplantation normalized after transplant. Although there was no correlation between bone mineral content and serum 25(OH)D level before transplant, sustained normal serum 25(OH)D and 1,25(OH)2D levels preceded or accompanied normalization of bone mineral content in the seven patients available for long-term follow-up. We conclude that (a) in infants and children younger than 2 yr with chronic cholestasis, bone mineral content normalizes approximately 11 mo after orthotopic liver transplantation. This normalization is preceded by a sustained period of normal serum 25(OH)D levels. (b) Normal baseline serum 25(OH)D levels decrease 1 to 2 mo after orthotopic liver transplantation, with subsequent normalization, whereas initially low serum 25(OH)D levels gradually normalize within 2 to 4 mo. We speculate that maintenance of normal serum 25(OH)D levels with oral vitamin D supplementation may enhance recovery of bone disease after orthotopic liver transplantation. (HEPATOLOGY 1994;20:598–603).

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