Kidney transplantation is the optimal form of renal replacement therapy for many with end-stage kidney disease. However, kidney transplantation comes with a unique set of medical complications, important among them is bone disease. Posttransplant bone disorders are manifestations of pathologic processes occurring posttransplant that are superimposed on preexisting disorders of bone and mineral metabolism secondary to kidney failure and/or diabetes mellitus. As a consequence of early rapid bone loss, which is seen commonly within the first 3 to 6 months of transplant, the fracture risk posttransplant increases and has been reported as high as 5% to 44%. Posttransplant fractures occur more commonly at peripheral than central sites. Patients with a history of diabetes mellitus are at particular risk for fracture. Parathyroid hormone (PTH) and osteocalcin levels generally decrease after transplantation. Alkaline phosphatase and urinary collagen cross-links are unpredictable. Bone histology varies. No single biomarker unequivocally distinguishes between the various bone disorders found on biopsy examination. Immunosuppression is a major cause of posttransplant bone disorders. Glucocorticoids lead to decreased bone formation whereas the calcineurin inhibitors appear to cause increased bone turnover. Evaluating and managing posttransplant bone disease is an integral part of posttransplant medical care.
Semin Nephrol. 2004 Jan;24(1):82-90.