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The two most commonly used biochemical markers of bone turnover are the serum alkaline phosphatase and the urinary excretion of peptide-bound hydroxyproline, both of which are increased in Paget's disease. Serum alkaline phosphatase is assumed to be derived from osteoblasts during the process of bone formation, whereas small peptides containing hydroxyproline are excreted in the urine following the degradation of bone collagen. The alkaline phosphatase is probably the more useful measurement for diagnosis and for following response to treatment, whereas hydroxyproline, although very sensitive, presents technical difficulties in collection and measurement. Several other biochemical changes in Paget's disease indicate abnormal bone metabolism. These include increased urinary excretion of hydroxylysine and its glycosides derived from collagen, as well as the release into the circulation and subsequent urinary excretion of fragments of pro-collagen indicative of increased collagen formation. Proteins specific to bone, such as osteocalcin, are increased in serum, bone, such as osteocalcin, are increased in serum, as are various enzymes possibly derived from bone cells, including acid phosphatase and proline imino-peptidase. Treatment of Paget's disease results in a fall in urinary hydroxyproline before alkaline phosphatase. This indicates that drug treatment, whether with diphosphonates, calcitonin or mithramycin, has a primary action to inhibit bone resorption, with a subsequent adaptive reduction in bone formation rate.

Original publication




Journal article


Metab bone dis relat res

Publication Date





255 - 262


Alkaline Phosphatase, Bone Resorption, Bone and Bones, Calcitonin, Calcium, Diphosphonates, Humans, Hydroxyproline, Osteitis Deformans, Parathyroid Hormone, Plicamycin