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OBJECTIVES

The changes in circulating IGF components after the menopause and the potential role of new markers of bone turnover and circulating IGF components in predicting bone mass in postmenopausal women are still controversial and the relationship between these two systems has not been investigated. The aims of this study were to investigate the changes in circulating IGF components after the menopause, to evaluate whether new markers of bone turnover and circulating IGF components reflect bone mass in postmenopausal women under the age of 60 and to study the relationship between these two systems.

DESIGN, PATIENTS AND MEASUREMENTS

Serum IGF-I, IGF-II, IGFBP-1, IGFBP-2, IGFBP-3, osteocalcin (OST), bone specific alkaline phosphatase (BAP), urinary deoxypyridinoline (DPYD) and N-telopeptide of type I collagen (NTX) were measured in 31 premenopausal women aged 31–43 and 65 postmenopausal women aged 47–60: this latter group comprised 30 normal healthy women and 35 osteoporotic women.

RESULTS

Compared with premenopausal women or normal postmenopausal women, serum IGF-1 and IGFBP-3 levels were significantly lower in osteoporotic postmenopausal women while no significant differences in serum levels of IGF-II, IGFBP-1 and IGFBP-2 were observed. The correlations between bone turnover markers and circulating IGF components (except between serum BAP and IGF-II), and between bone turnover markers and bone mineral density (BMD) in postmenopausal women were not significant. However, serum IGF-I and IGFBP-3 correlated positively with BMD of the lumbar spine and/or Ward's triangle even if age, BMI and menopause duration were taken into account in a multiple regression analysis model.

CONCLUSIONS

Circulating IGF-I and IGFBP-3 may be involved in the mechanism of bone loss in postmenopausal women under the age of 60. They may also provide indirect information on the current bone microenvironment different from that provided by new markers of bone turnover.