Association of IGF-I levels with muscle strength and mobility in older women

J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2001 Sep;86(9):4139-46. doi: 10.1210/jcem.86.9.7868.


The functional consequences of the age-associated decline in IGF-I are unknown. We hypothesized that low IGF-I levels in older women would be associated with poor muscle strength and mobility. We assessed this question in a population representative of the full spectrum of health in the community, obtaining serum IGF-I levels from women aged 70-79 yr, enrolled in the Women's Health and Aging Study I or II. Cross-sectional analyses were performed using 617 women with IGF-I levels drawn within 90 d of measurement of outcomes. After adjustment for age, there was an association between IGF-I and knee extensor strength (P = 0.004), but not anthropometry or other strength measures. We found a positive relationship between IGF-I levels and walking speed for IGF-I levels below 50 microg/liter (P < 0.001), but no relationship above this threshold. A decline in IGF-I level was associated with self-reported difficulty in mobility tasks. All findings were attenuated after multivariate adjustment. In summary, in a study population including frail and healthy older women, low IGF-I levels were associated with poor knee extensor muscle strength, slow walking speed, and self-reported difficulty with mobility tasks. These findings suggest a role for IGF-I in disability as well as a potential target population for interventions to raise IGF-I levels.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living
  • Aged
  • Aging / physiology
  • Body Composition / physiology
  • Body Weight / physiology
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Hand Strength / physiology
  • Human Growth Hormone / blood
  • Humans
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor I / metabolism*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiology*
  • Phlebotomy
  • Psychomotor Performance / physiology


  • Human Growth Hormone
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor I