Kim, Beom-Jun; Kwak, Mi Kyung; Kim, Jae Seung; Lee, Seung Hun; Koh, Jung-Min
Despite the potential biological importance of sympathetic activity in human bone metabolism, its effects on bone microarchitecture, a key determinant of bone quality, has not been thoroughly studied. In the present study, we investigated the lumbar spine trabecular bone score (TBS) as an indicator of skeletal deterioration in pheochromocytoma. Among 620 consecutive patients with newly diagnosed adrenal incidentaloma, 29 with histologically confirmed pheochromocytoma (a catecholamine-secreting neuroendocrine tumor) and 266 with nonfunctional adrenal incidentaloma were defined as cases and controls, respectively. After adjustment for confounders, subjects with pheochromocytoma had 2.9% lower lumbar spine TBS than those without pheochromocytoma (P = 0.038). Moreover, urinary normetanephrine level, but not urinary metanephrine level, was inversely correlated with lumbar spine TBS (P = 0.009). Subjects in the highest urinary normetanephrine quartile showed markedly lower lumbar spine TBS than those in the lowest quartile (P = 0.018), in a dose-response manner across increasing urinary normetanephrine quartile categories (P for trend = 0.021). Consistent with the results of previous studies, subjects with pheochromocytoma had significantly lower bone mass at the lumbar spine and higher serum level of C-terminal telopeptide of type I collagen than controls (P = 0.013 and 0.002, respectively). These findings provide clinical evidence that catecholamine excess and the resultant sympathetic overstimulation in pheochromocytoma may contribute to bone fragility, especially in the trabecular bone, through a weak microarchitecture in addition to a lower bone mass and increased bone resorption, and support the possibility of pheochromocytoma as a secondary cause of osteoporosis.