Osteoporosis in men is an important and growing public health problem. While there has been extensive work done on defining the mechanism(s) of the age-related increase in bone resorption in women, our knowledge regarding the pathogenesis of bone loss in elderly men is still incomplete. We previously demonstrated that the age-related increase in serum PTH contributes substantially to the increased bone resorption in elderly women, since suppression of PTH levels by an intravenous calcium infusion decreased bone resorption markers to a greater extent in elderly compared to premenopausal women. In the present study, we tested the hypothesis that the comparable increase in PTH levels in elderly men (age 70-78 years) was driving bone resorption to a greater extent in these men than in younger men (age 40-50 years). PTH secretion was suppressed by an intravenous calcium infusion and the corresponding changes in the bone resorption marker, urine N-telopeptide of type I collagen (NTx) were assessed. In contrast to our previous findings in pre- versus postmenopausal women, suppression of PTH secretion in elderly men did not result in a greater decrease in urine NTx excretion than in the younger men (change in NTx excretion in the elderly men, -2.79 ± 1.99 nmol/ mmol Cr, versus that in the younger men, -5.07 ± 1.39 nmol/mmol Cr, P = 0.356). Collectively, these data suggest that the relationship between the age-related increase in serum PTH levels and bone resorption differs between elderly men and women. Since both estrogen and testosterone can attenuate the bone resorbing effects of PTH, it is possible that this difference may be due to the much milder degree of sex steroid deficiency in elderly men as compared to postmenopausal women.
- Bone resorption
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism