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Can bone loss be reversed by antithyroid drug therapy in premenopausal women with Graves' disease?

DOI: 10.1186/1743-7075-7-72

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Prospective examination of the influence of thyroid hormones and/or thyroid autoantibodies on BMD in premenopause.We have examined 32 premenopausal women with untreated active Graves' disease from time of diagnosis, during 18 months of antithyroid drug therapy (ATD) and additionally 18 months after discontinuing ATD. Variables of thyroid metabolism, calcium homeostasis and body composition were measured every 3 months. BMD of lumbar spine and femoral neck were measured at baseline, 18 ± 3 and 36 ± 3 months. Data were compared to base line, a sex- and age matched control group and a group of patients with Hashimoto's thyroiditis treated with non-suppressive doses of levothyroxine.The study showed significantly (p < 0.002) lower BMD in the thyrotoxic state compared to the control group with subsequent significant improvement during 18 ± 3 months of ATD compared to baseline (p < 0.001). However, during the following 18 months after stopping ATD femoral neck BMD decreased again unrelated to age (more than 0.4% per year, p < 0,002). The wellestablished effect of thyrotoxicosis on calcium homeostasis was confirmed. The positive predictor for best BMD was TSH receptor antibodies (TRAb) while free T4 correlated negatively in the thyrotoxic female Graves' patients (p < 0.02 and p < 0.003). In healthy controls and patients with treated Graves' disease both TSH and T4 correlated negatively to the bone mass (BMC) (p < 0.003).The results indicated a clinically relevant impact of thyroid function on bone modulation also in premenopausal women with Graves' disease, and further indicated the possibility for a direct action of TRAb on bones.Thyroid hormones are known to stimulate bone turnover [1], and previous studies have shown decreased bone mineral density (BMD) [2] and increased risk of osteoporotic fractures [3-5] in patients with thyrotoxicosis [6]. However, many studies have been composed of a mixture of patients with different diagnoses (Graves' disease, toxic multinodular


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