Changing Osteocalcin Concentrations During Pregnancy and Lactation: Implications for Maternal Mineral Metabolism*
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We measured serum osteocalcin concentrations in 82 pregnant and 21 nonpregnant women. Osteocalcin values declined in the second trimester, but returned to nonpregnant levels late in the third trimester. The mean serum osteocalcin concentration in 36 women during pregnancy (mean gestation, 26 weeks) of 2.8 ng/mL was significantly lower than that in nonpregnant women (6.4 ng/mL; P less than 0.001) or term pregnant women at delivery (6.1 ng/mL; n = 46). Serum immunoreactive PTH (iPTH) levels were significantly higher during pregnancy than in nonpregnant women [97 +/- 5 vs. 56 +/- 4 ng/L (mean +/- SE); P less than 0.001]. No significant correlations were found between maternal osteocalcin concentrations and serum phosphorus, alkaline phosphatase, or iPTH, but significant negative correlations were found between osteocalcin and total calcium or total protein. Osteocalcin concentrations in midtrimester amniotic fluid were very low (mean, 0.3 +/- 0.1 ng/mL; n = 11). In 29 lactating mothers, the mean serum osteocalcin level was 9.5 +/- 1.5 ng/mL, significantly higher than in any of the other groups (P less than 0.05), but their serum calcium and iPTH levels were normal. There was no correlation between serum osteocalcin and calcium or iPTH concentrations in lactating women. These changes are compatible with a sequence in which bone turnover is reduced during early pregnancy, rebounds in the third trimester, and increases in postpartum lactating women.
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