Serum level of osteocalcin (OC) is believed to be a specific biochemical parameter
of bone formation. Decreased serum OC has been reported in alcohol-intoxicated subjects,
in patients with primary biliary cirrhosis and in patients with chronic alcoholic
liver disease. The question was, whether lower OC level could be detected in patients
with nonalcoholic and non-cholestatic chronic liver disease. The serum OC was measured
by RIA developed in our laboratory. Results were compared to age and sex matched controls.
Decreased OC level was found in 35 out of 47 (74%) patients with non-alcoholic and
non-cholestatic liver disease as chronic persistent hepatitis, chronic active hepatitis,
fatty liver and cirrhosis, in 21 out of 26 (80%) patients with alcoholic liver disease
and in 8 out of 15 (53%) primary biliary cirrhosis. None of the patients had elevated
value. There was no correlation between the decreased OC level and the duration or
severity of the liver disease and the laboratory parameters as bilirubin, AST, ALT,
alkaline phosphatase, albumin, prothrombin, and serum 25-OH-D3 vitamin level. Decreased
OC was found also in the patients without cirrhosis. The possible causes are discussed.
Relying upon these findings it is supposed that chronic liver disease by itself can
influence the osteoblast activity also by some unknown mechanism.