Relation of insulin-like growth factor-I and IGF binding protein 3 with markers of inflammation: results of a population-based study




Previous studies in acromegaly and growth hormone deficiency observed inverse associations between insulin-like growth factor-I (IGF-I) levels and inflammatory biomarkers including high-sensitive C-reactive protein (hsCRP), interleukin-6 or fibrinogen. We aimed to assess the relations between IGF-I or IGF binding protein 3 (IGFBP-3) levels and hsCRP, interleukin-6, fibrinogen and white blood cell count (WBC) in a population-based sample.

Design and Patients

Data from 3480 subjects from the population-based Study of Health in Pomerania (SHIP) were used. IGF-I, IGFBP-3 and inflammatory biomarkers were measured. Analysis of variance (anova), quantile regression models and logistic regression models, adjusted for age, smoking, diabetes mellitus and waist circumference, were performed.

Measurements and Results

anova and/or quantile regression showed inverse associations between IGF-I and hsCRP as well as positive associations between IGF-I and fibrinogen among both sexes. Furthermore, the odds of elevated fibrinogen levels increased with increasing IGF-I levels (per SD IGF-I increase: men: odds ratio (OR) 1·35 [95% confidence interval (CI) 1·04, 1·55]; women: OR 1·44 [95% CI 1·21, 1·71]) in both sexes, whereas the odds of increased hsCRP (women: OR 0·46 [95% CI 0·36, 0·58]) and interleukin-6 (men: odds ratio (OR) 0·77 [95% CI 0·61, 0·96]; women: OR 0·69 [95% CI 0·55, 0·86]) decreased.


Serum IGF-I levels are associated with inflammatory biomarkers including hsCRP, interleukin-6 and fibrinogen. Further experimental studies are needed to elucidate the mechanisms underlying the relation between the GH/IGF axis and the inflammatory system.