Bone Health in Childhood: Usefulness of Biochemical Biomarkers.
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Development of the human skeleton begins in early embryonic life and continues through childhood into early adulthood. The acquisition of peak bone mass during these vulnerable periods may impact on skeletal fragility in later adult years. Once the skeleton has reached maturity, bone remodelling continues with periodic replacement of old bone with new at the same location. Bone biomarkers are specifically derived biomarkers that reflect both formation by osteoblasts and resorption by osteoclasts. Children have significantly higher concentrations of bone biomarkers than adults due to both skeletal growth and rapid bone turnover during childhood and adolescence. Biochemical assessment of markers of bone turnover may be important in the diagnosis, prognosis and management of metabolic bone disease. This review will discuss the various serum bone markers used for assessing bone health and the factors that influence their utility.