Relationships between serum adipokines, insulin levels, and bone density in girls with anorexia nervosa

J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2007 Jun;92(6):2046-52. doi: 10.1210/jc.2006-2855. Epub 2007 Mar 13.


Background: Adolescents with anorexia nervosa (AN) have low bone mineral density (BMD). Adipokines and insulin play an important role in bone metabolism in healthy individuals. However, their association with bone metabolism in AN is unknown.

Objective: The aim of the study was to determine whether adipokines and insulin are independently associated with measures of BMD in adolescents with AN and controls.

Design/methods: Levels of adiponectin and insulin, fasting and after oral glucose, were evaluated in 17 AN patients and 19 controls (age, 12-18 yr), in whom hormonal parameters [GH, IGF-I, cortisol, estradiol, leptin, ghrelin, and peptide YY (PYY)] had been previously determined. Body composition, bone mineral content, and BMD at the lumbar spine, hip, femoral neck, and total body were assessed by dual energy x-ray absorptiometry. Two bone formation and bone resorption markers were examined.

Setting: The study was conducted at a General Clinical Research Center.

Results: Adiponectin differed between AN subjects and controls after controlling for fat mass and decreased in both after oral glucose (P = 0.02 and 0.07). On regression modeling, independent associations were observed of: 1) body mass index and adiponectin with lumbar spine bone mineral apparent density Z-scores (r(2) = 0.45); 2) lean mass, PYY, and ghrelin with hip Z-scores (r(2) = 0.55); 3) adiponectin and lean mass with femoral neck-bone mineral apparent density Z-scores (r(2) = 0.34); and 4) lean mass, PYY, GH, and ghrelin with total body-bone mineral content/height Z-scores (r(2) = 0.64), for the combined group. Adiponectin was also independently associated with BMD, and insulin was associated with bone turnover markers in the groups considered separately.

Conclusions: Adiponectin contributes significantly to the variability of bone density, and insulin contributes to bone turnover markers in adolescent girls.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adiponectin / blood
  • Adolescent
  • Anorexia Nervosa / metabolism*
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism
  • Body Composition
  • Bone Density*
  • Bone and Bones / metabolism*
  • Estradiol / blood
  • Female
  • Human Growth Hormone / blood
  • Humans
  • Hydrocortisone / blood
  • Insulin / blood*
  • Insulin Resistance
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor I / metabolism
  • Peptide YY / blood
  • Regression Analysis
  • Weight Gain


  • ADIPOQ protein, human
  • Adiponectin
  • Blood Glucose
  • Insulin
  • Peptide YY
  • Human Growth Hormone
  • Estradiol
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor I
  • Hydrocortisone