Bone marker and bone density responses to dopamine agonist therapy in hyperprolactinemic males

Carolina Di Somma, Annamaria Colao, Antonella Di Sarno, Michele Klain, Maria Luisa Landi, Giuseppina Facciolli, Rosario Pivonello, Nicola Panza, Marco Salvatore, Gaetano Lombardi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The aim of this prospective was to evaluate the bone mineral density (BMD) at lumbar spine and femoral neck levels and biochemical parameters of bone turnover in 20 consecutive hyperprolactinemic males before and after an 18-month treatment with different dopamine agonists. Six patients received bromocriptine at a dose of 2.5-10 mg/day; 7 patients received quinagolide at a dose of 0.075-0.3 mg/day; 7 patients received cabergoline at a dose of 0.5- 1.5 mg/week. BMD, serum PRL, testosterone, dihydretestosterone, and osteocalcin (OC), and urinary cross-linked N-telopeptides of type I collagen (Ntx) levels were measured before and every 6 months during treatment. At study entry, BMD values were lower in patients than controls at both lumbar spine (0.82 ± 0.03 vs. 1.18 ± 0.01 g/cm2; P <0.001) and femoral neck (0.85 ± 0.02 vs. 0.92 ± 0.02 g/cm2; P <0.05) levels. Osteopenia or osteoporosis was diagnosed in 16 patients at the lumbar spine and in 6 of them at the femoral neck level. A significant inverse correlation was found between lumbar spine and femoral neck BMD values and both PRL levels and disease duration (P <0.01). In the 20 patients, serum OC levels were significantly lower (2.1 ± 0.1 vs. 9.3 ± 2.4 μg/L; P <0.01), whereas Ntx levels were significantly higher (157.8 ± 1.1 vs. 96.4 ± 7.4 nmol bone collagen equivalent/mmol creatinine; P <0.001) than control values. A significant inverse correlation was found between serum PRL and OC (P <0.01), but not Ntx, levels. After 18 months of treatment, serum PRL levels were suppressed, and gonadal function was restored in all 20 patients, as shown by the normalization of serum T (from 2.2 ± 0.2 to 5.0 ± 0.2 μg/L) and dihydrotestosterone (0.3 ± 0.02 vs. 0.5 ± 0.01 nmol/L) levels, without any significant difference among groups. A progressive significant increase in serum OC levels together with a significant decrease in Ntx levels were observed after 6, 12, and 18 months of treatment in the 3 groups of patients. A slight, although significant, increase in BMD values was recorded in all patients after 18 months of bromocriptine, quinagolide, and cabergoline treatment, serum OC levels were normalized after treatment, whereas neither urinary Ntx levels nor BMD values were normalized by 18 months of treatment with dopaminergic agents. In conclusion, treatment with bromocriptine, quinagolide, and cabergoline for 18 months, although successfull in suppressing serum PRL levels and restoring gonadal function, was unable to restore lumbar spine and femoral neck BMD and normalize Ntx levels. However, BMD was slightly increased during treatment, suggesting that additional bone loss was prevented after treatment of hyperprolactinemia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)807-813
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1998

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism


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