Musculoskeletal Complications After Renal Transplantation: Pathogenesis and Treatment

Academic Article


  • Renal transplantation is associated with several abnormalities of function and structure of the musculoskeletal system. Some of these skeletal problems result from incomplete resolution of abnormalities of bone and mineral metabolism present at the time of transplantation. In this regard, persistent hyperparathyroidism, diabetes mellitus type 1, and accumulation of β2-microglobulin may lead to residual skeletal effects despite excellent function of the allograft. Persistent hyperparathyroidism may accelerate bone loss and increase the risk for osteonecrosis, as well as cause hypercalcemia and hypophosphatemia; some patients with severe hyperparathyroidism require parathyroid surgery. Osteonecrosis is the most debilitating skeletal complication after transplantation and frequently requires surgical therapy. Although osteomalacia associated with aluminum overload generally resolves after transplantation, bone complications due to dialysis amyloidosis and diabetes mellitus type 1 often fail to improve. Alternatively, skeletal abnormalities can be acquired after transplantation. Most of the new derangements of bone and mineral metabolism are due to the immunosuppressive medications. Toxic effects of glucocorticoids on bone contribute to the pathogenesis of osteonecrosis, increase the risk for fractures by decreasing cancellous bone mass and synthesis of bone matrix, and dampen the linear growth response in pediatric recipients. Whether cyclosporine independently causes appreciable toxic effects on bone metabolism is not yet clear, but use of this drug increases the prevalence of gout and dental problems. Osteonecrosis, osteopenia, and short stature remain important skeletal complications in recipients of renal allografts. Therapeutic efforts should be directed toward alleviating pretransplant bone disease and attenuating bone loss after transplantation. © 1992, National Kidney Foundation. All rights reserved. All rights reserved.
  • Authors

    Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Pubmed Id

  • 17859674
  • Author List

  • Julian BA; Quarles LD; Niemann KMW
  • Start Page

  • 99
  • End Page

  • 120
  • Volume

  • 19
  • Issue

  • 2