Background: A recent report suggested that men with vertex balding have higher levels of plasma insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1). The association of its major carrier protein, insulin-like growth factor binding protein 3 (IGFBP-3), with male pattern hair loss has not been examined.
Objective: We evaluated the relations of plasma concentrations of IGF-1 and IGFBP-3 with vertex balding in middle-aged and elderly men.
Methods: Participants were 431 male members of the Health Professionals Follow-up Study who responded to a question in 1992 on their hair pattern at 45 years of age and who were 47 to 81 years old when they provided a blood specimen in 1993-1994. Odds ratios (ORs) of vertex balding associated with IGF-1 and IGFBP-3 were estimated from logistic regression models mutually adjusting for each other and controlling for age at blood draw.
Results: Of the 431 men, 128 had vertex balding at age 45. Compared with men who were not balding, for a 1 standard deviation increase in plasma IGF-1 level (72.4 ng/mL), the OR for vertex balding was 1. 31 (95% CI, 0.95-1.81). For a 1 standard deviation increase in plasma IGFBP-3 (957 ng/mL), the OR for vertex balding was 0.62 (95% CI, 0.44-0.88).
Conclusion: Older men with vertex balding have lower circulating levels of IGFBP-3 and higher levels of IGF-1 when controlling for IGFBP-3 level.