In vivo actions of insulin-like growth factor-I (IGF-I) on bone formation and resorption in rats

E. M. Spencer, C. C. Liu, E. C.C. Si, G. A. Howard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

213 Scopus citations


The in vivo action of insulin-like growth factor-I on bone metabolism has been studied using a new model. Insulin-like growth factor-I (IGF-I) was continuously infused into the arterial supply of the right hindlimb of ambulatory rats for up to 14 days and the effects on cortical and trabecular bone formation and the number of osteoclasts were determined by histomorphometric techniques. The contralateral limb acted as an internal control. IGF-I infusion significantly increased cortical bone formation (p < 0.01). Trabecular bone was increased 22% (p = 0.07), but the infusion was only for seven days. These effects of IGF-I were age dependent, being absent in young, rapidly growing animals, but present at least until one year of age. IGF-I appears to be a purely anabolic hormone for bone formation, since it significantly stimulates osteoblasts and decreases the number of osteoclasts. Thus, although IGF-I mediates the growth-promoting effect of growth hormone, it does not mediate growth hormone's action on bone resorption.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)21-26
Number of pages6
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1991
Externally publishedYes


  • Bone formation
  • Insulin-like Growth Factor-I
  • Osteoblasts
  • Osteoclasts

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Hematology


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