Insulin-like growth factor-(IGF)-axis, inflammation, and glucose intolerance among older adults

Growth Horm IGF Res. 2008 Apr;18(2):166-73. doi: 10.1016/j.ghir.2007.08.004. Epub 2007 Sep 27.


Increasing evidence suggests that the insulin-like growth factor (IGF)-axis may play a role in glucose metabolism and may also be associated with systemic inflammation. The aim of this study was to evaluate the association of insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-I) and its binding proteins, IGFBP-1 and IGFBP-3, with glucose intolerance and inflammation among older adults. We conducted a cross-sectional analysis in a in a random subsample (n=922) of the Cardiovascular Health Study (CHS), a prospective cohort of men and women > or = 65 years. Mean IGFBP-1 levels were significantly lower in older adults with impaired glucose tolerance (IGT), impaired fasting glucose (IFG) and diabetes compared to those with normal fasting and post-load glucose. High IGFBP-1 was associated with a reduced prevalence of IGT and IFG; the multivariable OR between extreme quartiles of IGFBP-1 was 0.60 (95% CI: 0.37, 0.95; p-trend: 0.03) for IGT and 0.41 (95% CI: 0.26, 0.64; p-trend: <0.01) for IFG. We did not find any significant association between IGF-I and glucose intolerance in this study and the association for IGFBP-3 was less clear. However, low levels of IGF-I and IGFBP-3 were associated with increased levels of markers of inflammation including C-reactive protein and interleukin-6 levels. We conclude that among adults > or = 65 years, low IGFBP-1 levels are associated with increased prevalence of glucose intolerance. We did not confirm prior associations of low IGF-I with glucose intolerance in this cohort of older individuals.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cohort Studies
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Glucose Intolerance / blood
  • Glucose Intolerance / epidemiology*
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / blood
  • Inflammation / epidemiology*
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor Binding Proteins / blood
  • Male
  • Signal Transduction / physiology
  • Somatomedins / analysis*
  • Somatomedins / metabolism


  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor Binding Proteins
  • Somatomedins