Bone morbidity remains a major problem even after successful renal transplantation. We investigated the role of calcium-sensing receptor (CaSR) polymorphisms and 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels on the persistence of secondary hyperparathyroidism (SHPT) and their relationships with vertebral fractures (VFx) in 125 renal allograft recipients transplanted 44 +/- 23 months before. All patients underwent evaluation of the main biochemical parameters of calcium metabolism as well as vertebral and femoral bone density. In 87 patients, CaSR polymorphisms (A986S, R990G, and Q1011E) also were assessed. X-ray images of the lateral spine were obtained in 102 subjects to perform vertebral morphometry. High parathyroid hormone (PTH) and 25-hydroxyvitamin D lower than 80 nmol/L were found in 54% and 97% of patients, respectively, with 40% of these showing vitamin D levels lower than 30 nmol/L. VFx were detected in 57% of the subjects. After multiple adjustments, 25-hydroxyvitamin D, age, and hemodialysis duration, but not CaSR polymorphisms, were found to be significant predictors of high PTH, whereas age and time since transplant were positively related with lower 25-hydroxyvitamin D values. PTH and time since transplant were significantly associated with VFx. Patients with two or more VFx showed serum PTH levels 50% higher than patients without fractures. We therefore conclude that persistent SHPT is a very common feature after renal transplantation and that, unlike CaSR polymorphisms, low 25-hydroxyvitamin D is involved in its pathogenesis. High PTH levels, in turn, are associated with an increased VFx risk, which confirms the need for strategies aimed at lowering serum PTH in this setting as well.
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