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Keywords:

  • INSULIN RESISTANCE;
  • BONE STRENGTH

ABSTRACT

Although several studies have noted increased fracture risk in individuals with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM), the pathophysiologic mechanisms underlying this association are not known. We hypothesize that insulin resistance (the key pathology in T2DM) negatively influences bone remodeling and leads to reduced bone strength. Data for this study came from 717 participants in the Biomarker Project of the Midlife in the United States Study (MIDUS II). The homeostasis model assessment of insulin resistance (HOMA-IR) was calculated from fasting morning blood glucose and insulin levels. Projected 2D (areal) bone mineral density (BMD) was measured in the lumbar spine and left hip using dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA). Femoral neck axis length and width were measured from the hip DXA scans, and combined with BMD and body weight and height to create composite indices of femoral neck strength relative to load in three different failure modes: compression, bending, and impact. We used multiple linear regressions to examine the relationship between HOMA-IR and bone strength, adjusted for age, gender, race/ethnicity, menopausal transition stage (in women), and study site. Greater HOMA-IR was associated with lower values of all three composite indices of femoral neck strength relative to load, but was not associated with BMD in the femoral neck. Every doubling of HOMA-IR was associated with a 0.34 to 0.40 SD decrement in the strength indices (p < 0.001). On their own, higher levels of fasting insulin (but not of glucose) were independently associated with lower bone strength. Our study confirms that greater insulin resistance is related to lower femoral neck strength relative to load. Further, we note that hyperinsulinemia, rather than hyperglycemia, underlies this relationship. Although cross-sectional associations do not prove causality, our findings do suggest that insulin resistance and in particular, hyperinsulinemia, may negatively affect bone strength relative to load. © 2014 American Society for Bone and Mineral Research.