Bone mineral density declines with increasing older age. We examined the levels of circulating factors known to regulate bone metabolism in healthy young and older adults. The circulating levels of dickkopf-1, osteocalcin, osteoprotegerin and sclerostin were positively associated with whole-body bone mineral density (WBMD) in older adults, despite the average WBMD being lower and circulating dickkopf-1, osteoprotegerin and sclerostin being higher in old than young.
INTRODUCTION: This study aims to investigate the relationship between whole-body bone mineral density (WBMD) and levels of circulating factors with known roles in bone remodelling during 'healthy' ageing.
METHODS: WBMD and fasting plasma concentrations of dickkopf-1, fibroblast growth factor-23, osteocalcin, osteoprotegerin, osteopontin and sclerostin were measured in 272 older subjects (69 to 81 years; 52% female) and 171 younger subjects (18-30 years; 53% female).
RESULTS: WBMD was lower in old than young. Circulating osteocalcin was lower in old compared with young, while dickkopf-1, osteoprotegerin and sclerostin were higher in old compared with young. These circulating factors were each positively associated with WBMD in the older adults and the relationships remained after adjustment for covariates (r values ranging from 0.174 to 0.254, all p < 0.01). In multivariate regression, the body mass index, circulating sclerostin and whole-body lean mass together accounted for 13.8% of the variation with WBMD in the older adults. In young adults, dickkopf-1 and body mass index together accounted for 7.7% of variation in WBMD.
CONCLUSION: Circulating levels of dickkopf-1, osteocalcin, osteoprotegerin and sclerostin are positively associated with WBMD in community-dwelling older adults, despite the average WBMD being lower and circulating dickkopf-1, osteoprotegerin and sclerostin being higher in old than young.