IGF-1 Regulates Vertebral Bone Aging Through Sex-Specific and Time-Dependent Mechanisms


Nicole M Ashpole PhD, Jacquelyn C Herron MS, Matthew C Mitschelen, Julie A Farley, Sreemathi Logan PhD, Han Yan PhD, Zoltan Ungvari MD/PhD, Erik L. Hodges, Anna Csiszar MD/PhD, Yuji Ikeno MD/PhD, Mary Beth Humphrey PhD and William E Sonntag PhD


Advanced aging is associated with increased risk of bone fracture, especially within the vertebrae, which exhibit significant reductions in trabecular bone structure. Aging is also associated with a reduction in circulating levels of insulin-like growth factor (IGF-1). Studies have suggested that the reduction in IGF-1 compromises healthspan, while others report that loss of IGF-1 is beneficial as it increases healthspan and lifespan. To date, the effect of decreases in circulating IGF-1 on vertebral bone aging has not been thoroughly investigated. Here, we delineate the consequences of a loss of circulating IGF-1 on vertebral bone aging in male and female Igff/f mice. IGF-1 was reduced at multiple specific time points during the mouse lifespan- early in postnatal development (crossing albumin-Cre mice with Igff/f mice), or early adulthood, and late adulthood using hepatic-specific viral vectors (AAV8-TBG-Cre). Vertebrae bone structure was analyzed at 27 months of age using microCT and quantitative bone histomorphometry. Consistent with previous studies, both male and female mice exhibited age-related reductions in vertebral bone structure. In male mice, reduction of circulating IGF-1 induced at any age did not diminish vertebral bone loss. Interestingly, early-life loss of IGF-1 in females resulted in a 67% increase in vertebral bone volume fraction, as well as increased connectivity density and increased trabecular number. The maintenance of bone structure in the early-life IGF-1-deficient females was associated with increased osteoblast surface and an increased ratio of osteoprotegerin/receptor-activator of NFkB-ligand levels in circulation. Within 3 months of a loss of IGF-1, there was a 2.2 fold increase in insulin receptor expression within the vertebral bones of our female mice, suggesting that local signaling may compensate for the loss of circulating IGF-1. Together, these data suggest the age-related loss of vertebral bone density in females can be reduced by modifying circulating IGF-1 levels early in life.

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