The insulin-like growth factor-I gene and osteoporosis: A critical appraisal.


T Niu
C J. Rosen

Document Type


Publication Date


JAX Source

Gene 2005 Nov; 361:38-56.


Osteoporosis, a disorder of skeletal fragility, is common in the elderly, and its prevalence is increasing as more individuals with low bone mineral density (BMD), the strongest predictor of fracture risk, are detected. Previous basic and clinical studies imply there is a significant role for insulin-like growth factor-I (IGF-I) in determining BMD. Recently, polymorphisms upstream of the P1 promoter region of the human IGF-I gene have been found to be associated with serum levels of IGF-I, BMD and fracture risk in various ethnic groups. Multiple quantitative trait loci (QTLs) have been identified that underlie serum IGF-I in a mouse intercross between two inbred strains. The most promising QTL on mouse chromosome 6 has provided clues for unraveling the molecular mechanisms that regulate osteoblast differentiation. Genomic engineering resulting in IGF-I deficient mice, and mice with targeted over-expression of IGF-I reinforce the essential role of IGF-I in bone development at both the embryonic and postnatal stages. Thus, it is apparent that significant new insights into the role of the IGF-I gene in bone remodeling occur through several distinct mechanisms: (1) the skeletal IGF regulatory system; (2) the systemic growth hormone/IGF-I axis; (3) parathyroid hormone signaling; (4) sex steroids; and (5) the OPG/RANKL/RANK cytokine system. Molecular dissection of the IGF regulatory system and its signaling pathway in bone may reveal novel therapeutic targets for the treatment of osteoporosis.