Effect of estrogen on calcium absorption and serum vitamin D metabolites in postmenopausal osteoporosis

J. C. Gallagher, B. Lawrence Riggs, Hector F. Deluca

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Osteoporotic women have decreased calcium absorption and decreased serum 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D [1,25-(OH)2D] and are usually in negative calcium balance. Estrogen therapy improves calcium balance in patients with postmenopausal osteoporosis. In birds, estrogen administration increases the conversion of 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25OHD) to 1,25-(OH)2D. To determine if estrogen therapy affects vitamin D metabolism in human subjects, we studied 21 osteoporotic women before and after 6 months of treatment. We compared groups treated with either placebo (9 patients) or conjugated equine estrogen (1.2-2.5 mg/day; 12 patients). Fractional calcium absorption (mean ± SE) was unchanged after treatment with placebo (0.51 ± 0.03 to 0.52 ± 0.01) but increased after treatment with estrogen (0.53 ± 0.02 to 0.65 ± 0.04; P2D (0.54 ± 0.03 to 0.68 ± 0.04; P2D was unchanged after treatment with placebo (27.5 ± 1.3 to 27.6 ± 1.7 pg/ml) but increased after treatment with estrogen (23.6 ± 2.7 to 33.2 ± 3.7 pg/ml; P2D were correlated (r=0.68; P2D and calcium absorption were highly correlated (r=0.89; P2D. This effect appears to be mediated indirectly through stimulation of renal 1α-hydroxylase by increased serum PTH.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6-1364
Number of pages1359
JournalJournal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1980


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Biochemistry
  • Endocrinology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Biochemistry, medical

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