Background and aims. Although several studies have demonstrated a higher incidence of bone disorders in HCV-infected adults, the bone turnover alterations occurring in children and adolescents with chronic hepatitis C has not been thoroughly focused yet. We performed a study on a cohort of 30 HCV infected caucasian children and adolescents to assess the prevalence of osteodystrophy and evaluate a possible prophylactic and therapeutic approach. Methods. Data regarding biochemical markers of bone metabolism were collected. Moreover, results of ultrasonographic bone densitometry yearly performed were evaluated in comparison with data obtained from more than 500 healthy children and adolescents. Results. Osteocalcin and telopeptide of the collagen molecule type-1, CTX, appeared higher than normal in 8/30 and in 7/30 cases respectively; the 25OH vitamin D values were normal in 25/28 cases. By densitometry osteoporosis was detected in 2 patients and osteopenia in other 5. After stratification of cases by age groups, the incidence of osteopenia/osteoporosis appeared higher among children than among adolescents. Osteocalcin levels tended to be higher in cases where hepatic fibrosis were not detected. Conclusions. The higher number of cases of osteopenia/osteoporosis in children than in adolescents is worthy of note, although not statistically significant. Ultrasound densitometry confirmed its important early diagnostic role in asymptomatic HCV infected children; moreover, also the increase in serum levels of osteocalcin may be considered as early marker of osteodystrophy of complementary value. Larger studies will be needed to confirm the efficacy and safety of antiviral and supportive care in these patients.
- Bone disorders
- Chronic HCV infection
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
- Internal Medicine