• bone;
  • insulin-like growth factor;
  • bone formation;
  • bone structure;
  • homologous recombination


The importance of insulin-like growth factor I (IGF-I) for growth is well established. However, the lack of IGF-I on the skeleton has not been examined thoroughly. Therefore, we analyzed the structural properties of bone from mice rendered IGF-I deficient by homologous recombination (knockout [k/o]) using histomorphometry, peripheral quantitative computerized tomography (pQCT), and microcomputerized tomography (μCT). The k/o mice were 24% the size of their wild-type littermates at the time of study (4 months). The k/o tibias were 28% and L1 vertebrae were 26% the size of wild-type bones. Bone formation rates (BFR) of k/o tibias were 27% that of the wild-type littermates. The k/o bones responded normally to growth hormone (GH; 1.7-fold increase) and supranormally to IGF-I (5.2-fold increase) with respect to BFR. Cortical thickness of the proximal tibia was reduced 17% in the k/o mouse. However, trabecular bone volume (bone volume/total volume [BV/TV]) was increased 23% (male mice) and 88% (female mice) in the k/o mice compared with wild-type controls as a result of increased connectivity, increased number, and decreased spacing of the trabeculae. These changes were either less or not found in L1. Thus, lack of IGF-I leads to the development of a bone structure, which, although smaller, appears more compact.