Insulin-like growth factor 1, glycation and bone fragility: Implications for fracture resistance of bone

Grazyna E. Sroga, Ping Cheng Wu, Deepak Vashishth

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19 Scopus citations


Despite our extensive knowledge of insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF1) action on the growing skeleton, its role in skeletal homeostasis during aging and age-related development of certain diseases is still unclear. Advanced glycation end products (AGEs) derived from glucose are implicated in osteoporosis and a number of diabetic complications. We hypothesized that because in humans and rodents IGF1 stimulates uptake of glucose (a glycation substrate) from the bloodstream in a dose-dependent manner, the decline of IGF1 could be associated with the accumulation of glycation products and the decreasing resistance of bone to fracture. To test the aforementioned hypotheses, we used human tibial posterior cortex bone samples to perform biochemical (measurement of IGF1, fluorescent AGEs and pentosidine (PEN) contents) and mechanical tests (crack initiation and propagation using compact tension specimens). Our results for the first time show a significant, age-independent association between the levels of IGF1 and AGEs. Furthermore, AGEs (fAGEs, PEN) predict propensity of bone to fracture (initiation and propagation) independently of age in human cortical bone. Based on these results we propose a model of IGF1-based regulation of bone fracture. Because IGF1 level increases postnatally up to the juvenile developmental phase and decreases thereafter with aging, we propose that IGF1 may play a protective role in young skeleton and its age-related decline leads to bone fragility and an increased fracture risk. Our results may also have important implications for current understanding of osteoporosis- and diabetes-related bone fragility as well as in the development of new diagnostic tools to screen for fragile bones.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0117046
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number1
StatePublished - 28 Jan 2015
Externally publishedYes


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