Physical activity in relation to serum sclerostin, insulin-like growth factor-1, and bone turnover markers in healthy premenopausal women: a cross-sectional and a longitudinal study

J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2012 Oct;97(10):3691-9. doi: 10.1210/jc.2011-3361. Epub 2012 Aug 3.


Context: There is limited information on the effects of mechanical loading caused by physical activity (PA) on sclerostin, IGF-I, and bone turnover markers (BTM).

Objective: The objective of the investigation was to study the relationships between serum sclerostin, serum-IGF-I (s-IGF-I), BTM, and the PA level in premenopausal women and to discern how 8 wk of PA training (PAT) affects the serum levels of sclerostin, IGF-I, and BTM.

Design: This was a cross-sectional study with a subgroup followed up longitudinally.

Settings and subjects: A total of 1235 randomly selected premenopausal women were cross-sectionally studied. We also followed up 58 of these women longitudinally during an 8-wk course of PAT (4 d/wk) and compared them with 62 controls. All women were medically examined, and bone mineral density (BMD) and serum levels of sclerostin, s-IGF-I, and BTM were determined.

Results: Women with PA of greater than 120 min/wk showed significantly lower serum sclerostin (by 36.8%) but higher s-IGF-I (by 107%) levels than sedentary controls. Bone formation markers were also higher in the PA greater than 120 min/wk group compared with the sedentary controls. In the longitudinal study, the 8-wk PAT program led to a decrease in serum sclerostin (by 33.9%, P<0.0001) but increases in the serum levels of the bone-formation markers and IGF-I (s-IGF-I by 74.2%, P<0.0001).

Conclusions: This study demonstrates that even minor changes in PA are associated with effects on serum levels of sclerostin, IGF-I, and BTM and suggests that sclerostin could be a link between mechanical loading and disuse osteoporosis in humans.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adaptor Proteins, Signal Transducing
  • Adult
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Bone Morphogenetic Proteins / blood*
  • Bone Remodeling / physiology
  • Bone and Bones / physiology*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Genetic Markers
  • Health Surveys / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor I / metabolism*
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Motor Activity / physiology*
  • Osteoporosis / blood
  • Osteoporosis / epidemiology*
  • Osteoporosis / physiopathology
  • Premenopause / blood*
  • Risk Factors
  • Saudi Arabia / epidemiology
  • Weight-Bearing / physiology
  • Young Adult


  • Adaptor Proteins, Signal Transducing
  • Biomarkers
  • Bone Morphogenetic Proteins
  • Genetic Markers
  • SOST protein, human
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor I