The Determination of Serum Concentrations of Osteocalcin in Growing Pigs and Its Relationship to End-Measures of Bone Mineralization

S. D. Carter, G. L. Cromwell, T. R. Combs, G. Colombo, P. Fanti

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28 Scopus citations


Osteocalcin, a 49-amino acid, γ-carboxyglutamic acid-containing protein produced by the osteoblast, has been shown in laboratory animals to be a better marker of bone turnover than alkaline phosphatase. To determine serum osteocalcin levels in growing pigs, we isolated pure porcine osteocalcin and developed a double-antibody RIA. To evaluate the effects of dietary Ca and P levels on serum osteocalcin, 36 individually penned crossbred pigs (19.5 kg initial BW) were fed fortified corn-soybean meal diets (.95% lysine) containing four levels of Ca (.42, .66, .90, 1.14%) and P (.35, .55, .75, .95%) in a 30-d test. Increasing dietary Ca and P improved body weight gain quadratically (P < .02). Most bone traits improved quadratically (P < .05) with increasing Ca and P. Pigs were bled on d 0, 10, 20, and 30 to determine serum levels of alkaline phosphatase, 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3, and osteocalcin. Osteocalcin decreased (P < .02) linearly with increasing Ca and P on d 10, 20, and 30. However, this effect was much more pronounced on d 20 and 30. Alkaline phosphatase decreased with the first incremental increase in dietary Ca and P, but was not affected by higher levels on any day measured. Osteocalcin was inversely correlated with growth rate (r = -.54, P < .01), bone strength (r =-.57, P < .01), metacarpal ash (r = -.29, P < .10), femur ash (r = -.60, P < .01), and femur ash weight (r = -.65, P < .01). Similar results were found for 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3. Alkaline phosphatase was not correlated with performance or most bone traits on d 30. Based on this model, these results suggest that serum osteocalcin and 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 are better predictors of bone mineralization and(or) turnover in pigs than serum alkaline phosphatase.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2719-2729
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of animal science
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1996


  • Bone
  • Calcitriol
  • Calcium
  • Osteocalcin
  • Phosphorus
  • Pigs

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Genetics


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