Oxytocin and bone remodelling: relationships with neuropituitary hormones, bone status and body composition

Joint Bone Spine. 2011 Dec;78(6):611-5. doi: 10.1016/j.jbspin.2011.02.002. Epub 2011 Mar 26.


Purpose: There is growing evidence that oxytocin, which regulates appetite, plays a role in bone remodelling and improves osteoporosis. We previously showed a significant decrease in circulating oxytocin levels in postmenopausal osteoporotic women compared to healthy controls. However, factors involved in the pathophysiology of osteoporosis, such as estrogens and leptin, are known to regulate oxytocin secretion. Herein, we evaluated the relationships between oxytocin and other hormonal factors known to regulate bone remodeling and body composition in postmenopausal osteoporotic women, compared to healthy controls.

Methods: In 20 postmenopausal women with severe osteoporosis compared to 16 healthy controls, we measured serum levels of oxytocin, high sensitive estradiol, testosterone, FSH, LH, SHBG, TSH, osteocalcin, serum type I collagen carboxy-terminal telopeptide, leptin. Bone mineral density and body composition were also measured with DXA.

Results: Osteoporotic women had significantly lower oxytocin, leptin and LH serum levels and higher CTX and SHBG; all other biological parameters were similar in both groups. Fat mass and lean mass were significantly decreased in osteoporotic women. Oxytocin serum levels were significantly correlated to bone mineral density but not to any other measured parameter, including leptin, estradiol and age. In a logistic regression analysis, osteoporosis remained significantly correlated to oxytocin, regardless of age.

Conclusions: Low oxytocin serum levels appeared to be associated with severe osteoporosis, independently of other factors associated with osteoporosis or known to regulate oxytocin serum levels, such as estradiol or leptin, reinforcing the concept that oxytocin may be involved in the pathophysiology of postmenopausal osteoporosis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Body Composition / physiology*
  • Bone Density / physiology*
  • Bone Remodeling / physiology*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Collagen Type I / blood
  • Estradiol / blood
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Leptin / blood
  • Luteinizing Hormone / blood
  • Middle Aged
  • Osteoporosis, Postmenopausal / blood*
  • Osteoporosis, Postmenopausal / physiopathology*
  • Oxytocin / blood*
  • Peptides / blood
  • Pituitary Hormones / blood*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Sex Hormone-Binding Globulin / metabolism


  • Collagen Type I
  • Leptin
  • Peptides
  • Pituitary Hormones
  • Sex Hormone-Binding Globulin
  • collagen type I trimeric cross-linked peptide
  • Estradiol
  • Oxytocin
  • Luteinizing Hormone