Growth hormone-dependent insulin-like growth factor binding protein is a major determinant of bone mineral density in healthy men



To establish the major determinants of bone mass, we assessed relationships between bone mineral density (BMD) and height, weight, body mass index (BMI), muscle strength, physical capacity (Vo2max), body composition, serum concentrations of insulin-like growth factor I (IGF-I), growth hormone (GH), the GH-dependent IGF binding protein (IGFBP-3), testosterone, sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG), osteocalcin, and parathyroid hormone (PTH) in 38 healthy men between 25 and 59 years of age. Values of BMD at all sites (total body, lumbar spine, and hip) were strongly correlated with IGFBP-3 (r = 0.51–0.64, p < 0.001 at all sites), and total-body BMD was also significantly correlated with IGF-I (r = 0.43, p = 0.01). BMD measurements of the total body and of the different sites of the hip were negatively correlated with age and positively with weight, BMI, muscle strength, Vo2max, and fat-free weight. IGF-I and IGFBP-3 were both positively related to muscle strength and Vo2max. In a stepwise forward multiple-regression analysis, the best model was obtained for the femoral neck, where IGFBP-3, GH, PTH, age, IGF-I, and BMI explained 77% of the variation in BMD. The partial regression coefficients of IGFBP-3, PTH, and BMI were all positive, whereas age, GH, and IGF-I were negatively correlated with BMD. In summary, IGFBP-3 correlated better with BMD than any other study parameter. The findings indicate that GH is of importance for bone mass and suggest that IGFBP-3 not only reflects the integrated GH secretion but also has a direct role in the endocrine regulation of bone metabolism.