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Histochemical demonstration of iron but not aluminum in a case of dialysis-associated osteomalacia

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      Abstract

      A patient undergoing hemodialysis is described in whom osteomalacia developed despite protracted treatment with calcitriol. Appropriately stained biopsy sections exhibited iron at all marrow-osteoid interfaces and a small fraction of trabecular mineralization fronts. Aluminum, the metal usually associated with osteomalacia in patients undergoing hemodialysis, was not histochemically demonstrable, even though spectrophotometrically measured bone aluminum content was substantial. These observations suggest two interpretations: iron may have caused osteomalacia through effects on bone cells and at mineralization fronts; alternatively, aluminum may have caused osteomalacia while remaining histochemically undetectable. It is possible that both metals exerted toxic effects simultaneously.
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