Background and aims: We investigated the coexistence of dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate (DHEAS) and testosterone deficiency in men with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and their relationship with bone homeostasis. Patient and methods: In 45 men with IBD (25 with ulcerative colitis, 20 with Crohn's disease) the testosterone and DHEAS levels were examined in relationship to bone mineral density, osteocalcin levels, and urinary deoxypyridinoline excretions. Results: We detected osteoporosis in 10 and osteopenia in 22 patients at the lumbar spine and/or femoral neck. Lower testosterone levels were measured in 20. Lower DHEAS levels were present in 23 patients; these had higher deoxypyridinoline excretion and lower lumbar spine and femoral neck BMD T scores than patients with normal DHEAS. DHEAS and BMD were correlated at the lumbar spine and the femoral neck. Associations remained significant after adjustment for age, weight, steroid use, and inflammatory activity. No independent effect of testosterone deficiency was detected on bone parameters. Conclusion: DHEAS deficiency may contribute to the bone loss of men with IBD. This putative action of DHEAS on bone turnover is contrary to the common effect of testosterone deficiency and steroid therapy.
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